Moorhead judge sets bail for fugitive arrested in Mexico after eluding authorities for 21 years

According to court documents filed in Clay County in 2000, the former computer technician had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl in a Moorhead motel after the two met online.

Curtis Lee Brovold.
Clay County Jail photo

MOORHEAD — Curtis Lee Brovold, who was wanted on child sex charges in Moorhead for more than two decades, made an appearance in Clay County District Court on Friday, Jan. 14.

Judge Galen Vaa set Brovold's bail at $400,000 without conditions of release and $250,000 with conditions of release. The 68-year-old was arrested Wednesday outside his home in Cancun, Mexico, according to the FBI.

If Brovold posts bail, he will have to surrender his passport to the Clay County sheriff, the judge ordered. Public defender Mara Katrina Rausch was appointed to represent Brovold.

As of late Friday, Brovold remained in the Clay County Jail. His next appearance in Clay County District Court is set for Feb. 17.

Brovold disappeared in the summer of 2000 after posting $40,000 bail in a case involving charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and using a minor in a pornographic work.


According to court documents filed in Clay County in 2000, the former computer technician had sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl in a Moorhead motel after the two met online.

Brovold was arrested after police, acting on a tip from the girl's mother, found Brovold in a motel room with the girl, court records say.

This week, Brovold was flown to Minneapolis accompanied by FBI agents Thursday night and transferred to the custody of Clay County authorities, FBI spokesman Michael Kulstad said.

Moorhead Police Capt. Deric Swenson said it is his understanding that a photograph of Brovold recently surfaced, which led to FBI surveillance of him in Cancun.

While federal authorities watched Brovold, they also worked on the extradition process so he could be arrested and returned to the U.S., which the FBI did on Thursday, Swenson said, adding that Moorhead police long suspected that Brovold fled to Mexico.

Around the time Brovold was charged in Clay County in 2000, he was also charged in U.S. District Court with a fleeing charge.

On Thursday, federal prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss that federal charge, but beyond that no details were available regarding any pending or new federal charges.

Curtis Brovold
Curtis Lee Brovold

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.

Later, 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.

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.

Forum reporter Barry Amundson contributed to this report.

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

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at
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