Fugitive dubbed the ‘Bad Breath Rapist’ captured after 17 years on the run

Tuen Kit Lee booking photo from 2005 (Massachusetts State Police)
Tuen Kit Lee booking photo from 2005 (Massachusetts State Police)

A Massachusetts fugitive dubbed the “Bad Breath Rapist” was apprehended by US Marshals in California on Tuesday, after nearly 17 years on the run.

Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies were involved in the arrest of Tuen Kit Lee, 55, including the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force, the Massachusetts Fugitive Task Force, as well as Massachusetts State Police and Quincy Police Department.

Lee is accused of fleeing his trial in September 2007 before he was due to be sentenced for kidnapping and raping a woman in 2005.

Authorities claim that he raped a waitress from the restaurant owned by his family in Quincy after breaking into her home on 2 February 2005.

During the crime, the attacker wore a mask and held the victim at knife point before zip-tying her to the bed and sexually assaulting her, investigators say.

She was found several hours later by her boyfriend, bound to the bed, after he returned home because he was unable to reach his girlfriend by phone.

The victim later identified Lee as the perpetrator after she identified him by his bad breath, which led to media outlets calling him the “Bad Breath Rapist.”

Lee was found guilty of kidnapping and rape by a jury in 2005 after two days of deliberation but fled the state before he was due to be sentenced, with investigators unable to track him down for almost 17 years.

Authorities put hundreds of hours into attempting to locate him, running multiple media campaigns, including several appearances on America’s Most Wanted, and offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information that led to his arrest. But their efforts ultimately did not yield any results.

Until now.

Marshals said they were finally able to locate him after the Massachusetts State Police received a tip that he was possibly living in Diablo, California.

State police then contacted US marshals in northern California to investigate the tip and were able to verify he was in the area, living at a multi-million dollar residence owned by a female flower shop owner.

He was taken into custody on Tuesday morning after surveillance officers observed a man and woman leave the residence in Diablo and enter a vehicle, Massachusetts State Police said.

State police added that Danville Police officer conducted a vehicle stop, with Lee initially providing a fake name before confessing when pressed about his true identity.

Fingerprints confirmed his identity, police said.

His female companion, after 15 years of being together in California, never knew who he really was, according to Massachusetts State Police.

As the almost 17-year search came to an end, acting PSWRFTF commander, chief inspector Sean LoPiccolo, said he hoped Lee’s arrest would bring “peace of mind to the victim and her family.”

“There are violent offenders out there who believe they can commit crimes and not be held accountable for their actions,” chief inspector LoPiccolo said. “Tuen Lee was on the run for more than 16 years and the unwavering dedication by law enforcement to locate and arrest him hopefully brings peace of mind to the victim and her family.”