After 21 years on the run, man accused of sexually assaulting Moorhead girl arrested in Mexico

Curtis Lee Brovold, 68, was arrested Wednesday, Jan. 12, in Cancun, Mexico, according to the FBI. Police alleged the former computer technician sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl he met online in 2000.

Curtis Lee Brovold is led to a court appearance July 13, 2000, at the Clay County Courthouse in Moorhead.
Bruce Crummy / The Forum

MOORHEAD — A fugitive wanted on child sex charges in Moorhead has been captured after 21 years on the lam.

Curtis Lee Brovold, 68, was arrested Wednesday, Jan. 12, outside his home in Cancun, Mexico, according to the FBI. Police alleged the former computer technician sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl he met online in 2000.

Brovold was flown into Minneapolis accompanied by FBI agents Thursday night, Jan. 12.

He was then transferred into the custody of Clay County authorities, said FBI spokesman Michael Kulstad.

Brovold faces a third-degree charge of criminal sexual conduct, use of a minor in porn work and failure to appear, in Clay County District Court.


He also was charged in Minnesota's U.S. District Court with using a flight to avoid prosecution. It's unclear when Brovold will appear in either court.

Curtis Brovold
Curtis Lee Brovold.
Photo courtesy of the FBI

Brovold spoke with the teenager online for six months before he flew to Moorhead to meet with her, the FBI alleged.

According to court records and Forum archives:

The girl involved told police she met Brovold, of Granite Falls, Minnesota, in an internet chat room and that they communicated by email and telephone.

The girl told authorities Brovold sent her a digital camera and she sent him nude images of herself, court records said.

Brovold flew from an unknown location to Minneapolis and rented a pickup truck to drive to Moorhead, where he met the girl, who rode her bicycle to a prearranged site.

Brovold then took her to his motel room, putting her bike in the pickup.

The girl visited Brovold in his motel room a second time, during which they had sex and took a hot tub bath together, court records alleged.


The girl's mother, who had been concerned for some time about her daughter's connection to an unknown friend, phoned police after finding naked pictures of her daughter on a computer disc.

The girl's mother later found a motel phone number among her daughter's possessions and phoned police again.

Police arrived at the motel but initially could not enter the room where Brovold and the girl were because the door's deadbolt was locked, The Forum reported.

Authorities tried to break down the door but could not gain entry until Brovold eventually opened it.

The girl told police that during the time officers were trying to break down the door Brovold got dressed and retrieved a computer from a case, according to court records.

She said Brovold typed for a while on the computer before putting it back in the case and opening the motel door for police.

Police seized the computer from the motel room as well as computer equipment from Brovold's home in Granite Falls, a town about 125 miles west of Minneapolis.

Brovold was arrested and made an appearance in Clay County District Court. He was released after posting a $40,000 bond.


He later failed to appear for a court hearing in September 2000. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

Authorities traced Brovold to Mexico City but then lost track of him, according to news archives. The Moorhead Police Department and FBI agents developed information that led investigators to believe he was living in Cancun, according to a FBI news release.

Moorhead police and the FBI worked with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico and law enforcement to arrest Brovold, the FBI said.

“The FBI has two things on its side when working fugitive cases: persistence and a very long memory. Both helped lead us to Curtis Brovold,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Paul said in a statement.

Moorhead Police Chief Shannon Monroe said his agency was pleased "justice was not denied for the victim in this case simply from Brovold fleeing."

Kulstad declined to give specifics on what information led investigators to believe Brovold was in Cancun.

An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect age for Brovold. He was 68 at the time of publication.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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