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Child Rape Suspect Faked His Own Death, Lived Undetected for Years Until True Identity Was Revealed

Christian Robert Basham faked his own suicide after he was released on bond

<p>Getty</p> Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Getty

Tacoma Narrows Bridge

Christian Robert Basham was arrested and charged with second-degree child rape in 2008.

Basham was then released on a $350,000 bond pending trial — leading to an improbable and disturbing chain of events that began when Basham faked his own suicide.

According to the Bremerton Police Department, a witness allegedly watched as Basham jumped off the Tacoma Narrows Bridge on March 29, 2009.

“Several agencies engaged in a search for his body using a WSP airplane, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, and Tacoma Fire Department boats, but Basham’s body was never found,” the Bremerton Police Department said.

Police later discovered his car and a suicide note.

But now, police are saying that Basham didn’t die after all.

In the statement, police said Basham was living under the assumed name, Mark Clemens, until his death in Los Angeles, Calif., on Feb. 26, 2024.

Bremerton police said the County of Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner “discovered his true identity and advised Bremerton Police of this on March 13, 2024.”

Basham had been living at an apartment building in downtown Los Angeles for more than a decade where he worked in maintenance.

Neighbor Tommy Cuellar told KABC-TV he was shocked by the news about Basham.

“This was the guy who had keys to our apartments. It was troubling to say the least, as you could imagine,” Cuellar said. “He was just like a normal person, a little rough sometimes but it was his personality. No other clue that he was this person he was accused of being.”

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Bremerton police said, “the criminal case against Basham will be closed,” but detectives will be “doing follow-up regarding Basham’s movement and actions since his supposed death in 2009,” per the release.

It is unclear how Basham died. The County of Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner said his case has been “deferred.”

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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