TUCSON, Ariz. — A former Urbana man convicted of rape and kidnapping who's been on the run for more than two years has been picked up by federal authorities in Arizona.
A release from the office of U.S, Marshal David P. Gonzales, said that Baha'eddin Al Momani, 36, was arrested Tuesday night at the U.S. Port of Entry in Nogales, Ariz., after being deported from Mexico, where he had been living.
Al Momani was wanted in connection with his conviction in Champaign County in January 2011 for a Nov. 1, 2009, aggravated criminal sexual assault and kidnapping of a University of Illinois student who was too drunk to be able to consent to sex. He was tried and convicted in his absence in January 2011 and subsequently sentenced to 32 years in prison — 25 for the rape and 7 for kidnapping — by Judge Tom Difanis.
Al Momani appeared in court in Urbana for several months after being charged in January 2010. Court records show his last court appearance was Dec. 6, 2010.
The woman testified at his trial in Urbana that she remembered going to Joe's Brewery, 706 S. Fifth St., C, on Halloween night where she had four drinks. She next remembered waking inside a van hours later with Al Momani on top of her. The van was inside a locked storage unit at the Glover Street Warehouses, where Al Momani rented a unit.
When she told him to stop what he was doing, he did and then took her home.
She later went to the hospital where evidence recovered from her matched Al Momani's DNA.
Urbana police Sgt. Dan Morgan said his department has known for a long time that the U.S. Marshal's Service was aware that Al Momani was in Mexico. U.S. marshals had received an anonymous call saying he was possibly living in Magadalena, Sonora.
"They tracked him through a couple places. He was identified through drug investigations as working for a Mexican cartel and that's how his name came back up," said Morgan. "Then he gets located again. They were waiting for an opportunity to snag him when he was in the right place at the right time."
A native of Jordan, it's expected that Al Momani will be deported to that country once he completes his Illinois prison sentence. Under truth-in-sentencing, he will have to serve at least 24 years of his sentence.