Video: Convict dad caught after fleeing kidney donation

updated 4/27/2007 12:40:47 PM ET 2007-04-27T16:40:47

A federal prisoner who fled the country after he was temporarily freed to try to donate a kidney to his ailing son was arrested in Mexico with his girlfriend, authorities said.

Byron Keith Perkins and Lea Ann Howard were arrested Wednesday in Puerto Vallarta and were being flown to Los Angeles for a court hearing Thursday. They are expected to be returned to Louisville, where both face federal charges, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Perkins had been released on $10,000 bond in January 2006 but failed to show up for the compatibility tests to see whether he could donate the kidney his son Destin.

Destin, now 17, eventually received a kidney from an anonymous donor. He told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" that he was doing fine but wasn't sure he could forgive his father.

"I don't know how he could lay his head down at night knowing he ran away and left me up here to die like that," the teen said.

Perkins had been jailed awaiting sentencing for marijuana distribution and unlawful transport of firearms. He faced at least 25 years for those charges, which were filed while he was serving a supervised release from a North Carolina sentence for bank robbery.

The U.S. Marshals Service listed him among its 15 most wanted fugitives after he fled.

Rich Knighten, chief deputy U.S. Marshal for Kentucky's western district, said in March that while fugitives outside of the U.S. are normally harder to catch, Perkins' actions had generated plenty of interest in Mexico.

"They're as much bothered by this character as we are up here," Knighten said.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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