updated 9/1/2007 7:28:22 PM ET 2007-09-01T23:28:22

A fugitive sex offender wanted in two states was charged Saturday with strangling a woman and leaving her body beneath a bed at a Times Square hotel.

Police detained the 35-year-old suspect, Clarence Dean, on Friday night after announcing he was wanted for questioning.

The unemployed drifter abruptly checked out of his room at the Hotel Carter on Wednesday after a stay of nearly two weeks. A chambermaid cleaning the room the next morning found the rigid corpse, wrapped in plastic and shoved beneath a bed.

Investigators were still trying to determine the woman’s identity Saturday, but some details emerged about the man now charged with second-degree murder.

Dean has been in and out of trouble with the law for years and was required to register as a sex offender because of a lewd act involving a child in the mid-1990s in Palm Beach, Fla.

Sheriff’s deputies in Alabama issued a warrant for his arrest last spring after learning that he had moved out of a motel in Alabaster, Ala., without informing authorities.

Police in Clarksville, Tenn., began looking for Dean, too, this month after a woman he met over the Internet complained that he had taken her car, cleaned out her bank account and disappeared.

A spokesman for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department in Tennessee confirmed that a warrant had been issued for his arrest on theft charges on Aug. 23, about 10 days after he skipped town. By then, Dean had already arrived in New York.

An autopsy concluded that the woman found in Dean’s hotel room was beaten and strangled. Police said she didn’t appear to have been a registered guest at the hotel.

Police were unsure Saturday whether Dean had a lawyer.

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