Taiwan officials said Thursday that they are searching for Cody Wilson, a Texas maker of 3D-printed guns whom authorities say has fled to Asia after being accused of having sex with an underage girl.
Meanwhile, Taiwan media reported that Wilson rented an apartment in Taipei with a lease set to start Friday.
Wilson reportedly arrived in Taiwan earlier this month, the National Immigration Agency and Criminal Investigation Bureau confirmed.
The bureau has yet to receive intelligence from the U.S. regarding Wilson, but will continue seeking more information about the case, said Kan Yen-min, a division director quoted by the official Central News Agency.
A wanted poster for Cody Wilson. (U.S. Marshals Service)
Investigators said Wilson met the girl for sex at an Austin, Texas, hotel on Aug. 15 and paid her $500 afterward. A counselor for the teenager reported the alleged encounter to Austin police a week later, saying Wilson met the girl online.
Austin police Cmdr. Troy Officer said Wednesday that his department was working with U.S. and international law enforcement agencies to find Wilson, whose last known location was Taipei.
Meanwhile, a manhunt was underway for Wilson, Taiwannews.com reported, adding that he signed a lease for an apartment in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, scheduled to begin Friday at noon, citing Taiwan’s Liberty Times.
Wilson visited Taipei and contacted a house agent in Taipei on Sept. 6 through a rental website, the report said.
He arrived in customs on a tourist visa and said he was visiting Taiwan for “business reasons,” Taiwan’s Apple Daily reported.
Officer said it was unclear why Wilson went to Taiwan, but he is known to travel extensively.
He said before Wilson flew there, a friend of the 16-year-old girl informed Wilson that police were investigating the accusation that he had sex with the youth.
Taiwan and the U.S. do not have an extradition treaty but cooperate extensively on legal and security matters.
Wilson is identified in the affidavit as the owner of Austin-based Defense Distributed. After a federal court barred Wilson from posting the printable gun blueprints online for free last month, he announced he had begun selling them for any amount of money to U.S. customers through his website.
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia sued to stop an agreement that the government reached with Defense Distributed, arguing that the blueprints for how to print plastic guns could be obtained by felons or terrorists.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.