The former owners of a Los Angeles private school have been charged with sexualy assaulting one of their 16-year-old students in 2000.
Joseph Horace Green, 52, and Chanell Nicola Warren, 43, founded Enlightened Minds School, a private school in South Los Angeles. Former Mayor Richard Riordan previously lauded the couple for “their outstanding work as educators and mentors to the students,” according to KTLA.
The couple operated the school under the pseudonyms Ty and Tisa Yiyara. The school taught an Afrocentric curriculum to kindergarten through 12th graders.
But the two suddenly disappeared in 2000 after rumors swirled that a student was sleeping in the same room as a couple during a school field trip.
A short time later, one of their 16-year-old students accused the couple of sexually molested her.
The girl said the couple took her to an RV parked in front of their home and assaulted her several times over the course of a few weeks.
Investigators later found that Green and Warren had a history of covering up sex crimes. Green was a registered sex offender and had previously been arrested on three counts of sexually molesting a minor.
The two also fabricated their educational credentials. Green claimed to be a former Air Force captain with a master's in social work from Dallas Baptist University. However, police found that no military record existed and that his degree was actually purchased through a mail order catalogue.
The two had been on the run for 17 years and had been featured on HLN’s “The Hunt with John Walsh” in September. Walsh is known for hosting the long-running “America’s Most Wanted.”
"They're driving around in this humongous RV, state-of-the-art, you can't miss it," said Los Angeles Police Det. Tracey Benjamin, according to CNN. "But they literally vanished."
Benjamin said that the episode of "The Hunt with John Walsh" sparked renewed interest in the case and attracted the attention of several law enforcement agencies nationwide.
The couple was caught near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with the help of facial recognition technology.
"The show opened up a new world to us," said Benjamin, adding that the arrest was a "real team effort."
At the time of their arrest, Green and Warren worked with a homeschool network and were homeschooling their own four children. They were reportedly exploring the option of purchasing another school.
Green has been charged with sodomy, sexual penetration by a foreign object, and four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, according to KTLA. Warren has been charged with sexual penetration by a foreign object and six counts of oral copulation of a minor.