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Charging documents, character affidavit tell two different stories of Oregon fugitive

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Jan 31 2014 11:21:09 PM MST
Updated On: Jan 31 2014 11:46:15 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

The Douglas County courthouse has a file on Daniel Chafe that's 55 pages long and dates back over 15 years.

It includes two grand jury indictments that spell out each rape, sodomy and sexual abuse charge against Chafe, and the fact that the district attorney had repeatedly filed motions with the court the keep the case open.

In the oldest documents, a Douglas County grand jury issued an indictment in January of 1997 for Chafe- who went by Stryder Styarfyr at the time- alleging rape and sexual abuse against a girl under the age of 16.

The court issued an arrest warrant the same day, but it wasn't until almost a year later police tracked chafe down in New Mexico. He was extradited to Oregon in January of 1998.

A judge gave Chafe a conditional release from jail, and documents indicate Chafe attended each court hearing.

That is, until a Douglas County grand jury issued an amended indictment in June of 1998- this one alleging 18 counts of rape, sodomy and sexual abuse.

The indictment outlines a disturbing case against Chafe, stating he raped, sodomized and forced sexual contact with one girl under the age of 16 at least 15 times throughout the course of 10 months between 1994 and 1995.

It goes on to claim Chafe raped, sodomized and forced sexual contact with the victim in the original indictment three times between May and June of 1995.

After that, Chafe missed two hearings and the court issued an arrest warrant.

Chafe allegedly faked his own death and stayed on the run until his arrest a couple weeks ago, apparently living in Clarkston the entire time.

During those years, the Douglas County court asked the district attorney to drop the case several times, but each time the county attorney or the police asked to keep it open.

One letter to the court written by a sergeant even talks about leads generated by the television show "America's Most Wanted," saying between two airings in 2005 and 2006 they received more than 100 tips.

NBC Montana also received other documents concerning Chafe, but these ones are quite the opposite of the charging affidavit.

On Friday, Gallatin County resident Mike McNeil filed an affidavit that testifies to the character of Chafe, or as she knew him, Zac Taylor.

McNeil said she's personally and professionally known Chafe since 1999, and that he was a very good friend and neighbor.

In the affidavit, she states Chafe was devoted to the love of his life, Ann, who lived with him in Clarkston.

McNeill cites his generosity. She even told a story where Chafe helped her rescue three horses, and said adopted several abandoned and abused dogs that he took great care of.

The former neighbor goes on to say that, "at no time has Zac Taylor's actions caused me to question his integrity and honor."

McNeil said she hopes through this affidavit, she can be a character witness for Chafe as legal proceedings move forward.