Border Patrol agent arrested in Arizona on child sex charges

Border Patrol agent arrested in Arizona on child sex charges
Dana Thornhill, a special agent with the U.S. Border Patrol, was arrested in Whetstone on Thursday, April 10, 2020 for child sex abuse charges. The arrest was part of an ongoing investigation between Sierra Vista police and Homeland Security. (Source: Cochise County Jail)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Border Patrol agent accused of child sex abuse charges was arrested in southern Arizona Thursday.

Sierra Vista Police Department officers and Homeland Security agents arrested Dana Ray Thornhill on Thursday, April 9, on charges of sexual conduct with a minor and sexual assault.

Thornhill, 49, is being held at the Cochise County Jail without bond.

The arrest came after an investigation with Homeland Security into ongoing sex abuse of children, according to the release. Thornhill allegedly fled from Sierra Vista and took shelter in a church in Whetstone, north of Huachuca City.

Thornhill was armed at the time he fled and likely knew of the investigation, according to a news release from the SVPD.

Officers with SPVD’s tactical unit responded to the church, where Thornhill barricaded himself. Negotiators were on the scene for four hours until Thornhill finally surrendered at 8 p.m.

Officials with Customs and Border Protection released a statement responding to Thornhill’s arrest:

"A Tucson Sector Border Patrol Agent was arrested Thursday evening by the Sierra Vista Police Department for sexual conduct with a minor and sexual assault, and booked into Cochise County jail.

CBP stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of our mission, and the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe. We take all allegations of employee misconduct seriously and strive to be as transparent as possible regarding the release of investigative information to the public. CBP does not tolerate corruption or abuse within our ranks, and we cooperate fully with all criminal or administrative investigations of alleged misconduct by any of our personnel, whether it occurs on or off duty.

CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility is cooperating with the investigation into the alleged unlawful conduct and further inquiries should be directed to the Sierra Vista Police Department."

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Det. Tom Ransford at 520-452-7500.

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