Fugitive described by Penticton neighbour as ‘helpful’ family man

Edward Ellis, wanted by Toronto police for 'brutal' 1999 sex assault, called himself James before Mounties here finally caught up to him.

Update: May 17, 2013

James Ellis has since been exonerated on two of three charges, and pleaded guilty to a single count of assault causing bodily harm.

Posted: July 7, 2012

Edward Ellis was a “very, very helpful” family man who managed quite well in Penticton, right up until his arrest in connection with a “brutal” sexual assault 13 years ago in Toronto.

The 51-year-old was arrested on a Canada-wide warrant Thursday at his home on Poplar Grove Road.

Another Poplar Grove Road resident, who asked not to be identified, was surprised by the revelation about the man known here as James.

“He’s been a very, very helpful neighbour,” said the resident.

“He worked at a business in town, so it’s not like he was hiding away.”

According to a bulletin on the RCMP’s website, Ellis is alleged in 1999 to have committed “a brutal sexual assault on a female he sought at a private party.”

In a new release issued Friday, Mounties said Ellis lived in the Penticton area under an assumed identity for nine years.

Police here were contacted in April by their Toronto counterparts, who had received a tip that Ellis may be in the area, and investigators used both their files and public records to establish his identity.

Ellis was co-operative during his arrest and “conceded to police that he had been looking over his shoulder since 1999, wondering if and when police would catch up with him,” the release claimed.

RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said the bust shows it’s never too late for people to come forward with information about an alleged crime, and that Ellis’s arrest will bring “a certain degree of solace” to the alleged victim in Toronto.

Ellis appeared in Penticton provincial court on Friday and will remain in custody here until arrangements are made to return him to Toronto.