- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

THREE FORKS, Mont. (AP) - Nearly every day for six years, Zac Taylor ate at the Three Forks Cafe.

Waitresses tell The Bozeman Daily Chronicle (https://bit.ly/1gkjJ8p) he even had his own bottle of hazelnut syrup for his coffee with the name Zac on it.

But what people didn’t know was that “Zac Taylor,” the computer repairman who lived north of Three Forks, was actually 55-year-old Daniel Chafe, a fugitive who failed to show up for his September 1998 trial on charges of rape, sexual abuse and sodomy in Roseburg, Ore.

The FBI alleges Chafe recruited girls to form what he called the “Cobalt Clan.” Authorities said his goal was to have a large number of children over whom he could rule.

Chafe was arrested near Bozeman on Jan. 15 and awaits extradition back to Oregon, where he faces trial on six charges of rape, five counts of sexual abuse and seven counts of sodomy.

Shortly before Chafe was to face trial, he and a friend apparently went on a fishing trip on the Snake River. The friend said Chafe fell out of the boat and he couldn’t locate him. Authorities believe Chafe tried to fake his death.

The case was featured on national TV programs such as America’s Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries.

Even after Chafe’s arrest, some residents didn’t connect him with the man they knew as Zac Taylor because he didn’t look like his old mug shot.

Gallatin County Undersheriff Dan Springer said he had no criminal history in the county.

Kelly Smith, a deputy clerk at Three Forks City Hall, said she knew a lot of people in the community who had used Chafe’s computer repair business. He first applied for a city business license in 2008.

“I don’t think anyone in town had any idea,” Smith said.

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