By Philip Jankowski

Killeen Daily Herald

Authorities on Monday arrested a 19-year-old fugitive in Harker Heights who was wanted for allegedly sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl.

The Bell County Organized Crime Unit and U.S. Marshals arrested Manuel Lopez at a residence in the 1500 block of Aztec Trace.

He was taken into custody without incident and is being held at the Bell County Jail on $100,000 bond, said Jeff Waggoner, a Harker Heights detective.

Lopez had been missing for about a week when a warrant was issued for his arrest. He has been charged with aggravated sexual assault, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

According to an arrest affidavit, the mother of the alleged victim notified police in May that her daughter had made statements indicating that Lopez had sexually abused her numerous times.

In an interview with investigators at the Central Texas Children's Advocacy Center, the girl said Lopez assaulted her three times since summer 2010, the affidavit states.

In one incident, Lopez had been drinking before he entered the girl's bedroom. He got into her bed and sexually abused the child, according to statements from the alleged victim.

Lopez later admitted to touching the girl inappropriately; however, he claimed he was drunk and thought he was in bed with the child's mother.

Contact Philip Jankowski at philipj@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.

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