LA Handyman Revealed as Suspect in 2008 Washington Little one Rape Case

A Los Angeles apartment building’s unassuming maintenance man, known to locals as Mark Clemens, was unmasked posthumously as a Washington state child rape suspect who had faked his death, officials confirmed. Christian R. Basham, 56, lived quietly under his assumed name for years before his story took a dramatic turn following his death on February 26. According to The Guardian, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office made the identification and alerted authorities in Bremerton, Washington, where Basham faced unresolved criminal charges before he ostensibly leaped from a bridge nearly two decades ago.

Residents of the downtown LA building expressed their sorrow over the loss of the man they believed to be Clemens, but that soon changed to shock as they were forced to rapidly reassess their feelings. According to a report by 6abc.com, residents were planning a memorial service when they discovered the true identity of their handyman—a man accused of a 2008 child-rape case who had gone to extraordinary lengths to evade capture, including faking his demise. Basham was charged with second-degree child rape in 2008 and was released after posting a $350,000 bail.

The deception began to unravel as the coroner’s probe revealed inconsistencies with Clemens’ alleged identity. Confirming Basham’s true identity proved to be a complex task that ended an almost 15-year-old mystery. AP News reported that Basham had been arrested and later managed to convincingly stage his suicide in March 2009 by jumping from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge—a case that involved a search operation with boats and airplanes that ultimately failed to locate his body.

Despite the previous sightings of Basham’s jump, it was the meticulous work of the medical examiner’s office that closed a chapter on this elusive suspect. In their statement, Bremerton police detailed how Basham, released on bail, managed to create a new life far from the shadows of his past crimes. His car and an alleged suicide note were discovered back in 2009, convincing many at the time that Basham had chosen to abruptly end his narrative. While those who knew Clemens continue to process the jarring revelation, the true legacy of Christian R. Basham remains irrevocably tarnished, etched into the annals of criminal history as a fugitive hiding in plain sight until his last breath.

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