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Fugitive sex-offender soccer coach headed back to Ohio after arrest in Florida

A woman the former soccer coach met online researched him and alerted authorities when she realized who he was.

A former Ohio soccer coach, who has been on the run since he was convicted in November of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl on his team, was captured when a woman he met on a dating site researched him and alerted authorities.

Justin Smith, 41, waived an extradition hearing Monday in Okaloosa County, Florida, where he was arrested Friday and held without bond on fugitive charges, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office.

Justin Smith was arrested in Tennessee on Dec. 14, 2018 after more than a month on the run.Okaloosa County Sheriff's Department

He had been on the run since Nov. 2, when he tampered with his ankle monitor during a break in his Montgomery County trial and escaped prior to a jury finding him guilty of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, sexual battery and sexual imposition.

Smith and a woman he met on a dating site in Tennessee "had communications, and she decided she better research him," said Rob Streck, chief deputy for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office. "Once she began looking, she found the information that he was convicted and wanted for several sexual assault crimes." The woman then got in touch with the sheriff's office, who took Smith into custody.

Streck said Smith would be returned to Ohio "shortly."