The arrest of a New York man this week in Portland is bringing renewed attention to the unsolved murder of Megan Waterman of Scarborough, whose body was found on a New York shoreline in 2010 along with the bodies of nine other young women.

Akeem Malik Cruz, 26, who went to federal prison for taking Waterman from Maine to prostitute her in New York, was out on probation when he was arrested early Tuesday morning during a traffic stop on Forest Avenue with a 23-year-old Maine woman in the passenger seat of his car.

Cruz has not been charged in Waterman’s death, but he was with her on the night she disappeared, during the first weekend of June in 2010. She was last seen at a Holiday Inn Express in Hauppauge, New York, on Long Island. Her body was found on Dec. 3, 2010, wrapped in burlap. She was 22.

Cruz was brought to the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland on Wednesday on charges of driving with a suspended license and giving police false names. He appeared prepared to plead guilty to the misdemeanors in a plea agreement with a prosecutor and pay fines of $500. But another prosecutor, who is assigned to handle sex trafficking cases, remembered Cruz from the investigation into Waterman’s death.

Deputy District Attorney Megan Elam told Judge E. Mary Kelly that she was rescinding the first plea agreement and offering Cruz six months in jail in exchange for his plea.

“Now that they found out who I am, personal feelings have got involved,” Cruz told the judge. “I’ve served the time for the decisions I made. I’m not the same person anymore.”

Cruz pleaded guilty to an interstate pimping charge in federal court in New York in 2013 in connection with Waterman and got a three-year sentence. After his release on probation, a warrant was issued for his arrest in September for failure to appear in court in New York on allegations that he violated the terms of his probation.

Cruz was animated in court Wednesday, speaking out though he was reminded by the judge of his right to remain silent. Cruz asked Kelly to remove Elam from the new case, but Kelly denied his request.

“(Expletive) her,” Cruz said of Elam as he was led from the courtroom.

Later, when Cruz was brought back in the courtroom, he pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges.

An attorney assigned to represent Cruz for the day, Cory McKenna, argued for Cruz’s release on bail so Cruz could be taken to New York to face the accusation that he violated his federal probation.

“I think we can be sure he is coming back here (to Maine) because he has Meg Elam on his case,” McKenna told the judge. “Attorney Elam is on Mr. Cruz like white on rice.”

Kelly set Cruz’s bail at $500 cash, with conditions that he not be in a vehicle with unrelated females and that he not be in any hotel or motel or other transient facility with unrelated females.

As of Wednesday evening, Cruz had not made bail. If he does, he will remain in federal custody.


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