A routine background check by Kansas University police led officers to discover that a 22-year-old Lawrence man they had arrested was a U.S. Army deserter.
Mark E. Smith, 721 Conn., was taken into custody by KU police officers about 12:30 a.m. Monday on charges related to a domestic violence incident on campus.
Following his arrest, KU police officers found that Smith had been reported absent without leave from his post at Fort Riley, a Fort Riley spokesman said Tuesday.
Smith remained in the Douglas County Jail until 8 p.m. Monday, when Fort Riley authorities took him back to the Army base, said Mark Meseke, a Fort Riley spokesman.
According to Fort Riley records, Smith, who had been in the Army since September 1988, was declared AWOL Dec. 2. He was declared a deserter Jan. 2.
Kansas University police officer Burdel Welsh said KU officers had been looking for Smith since Jan. 18. According to police reports, Smith's girlfriend, a KU student, had reported that she was battered by him and that he took her car Jan. 18.
KUPD later found the woman's car at KU's Robinson Gymnasium, but police continued to look for Smith, based on a description of his car and license tag number provided by the woman.
Police spotted Smith early Monday morning driving on campus and arrested him. He pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of battery at a Monday hearing in Douglas County District Court. He is scheduled to make his next court appearance March 3, when a trial will be set or he will enter a plea or diversion agreement.
According to Douglas County Sheriff's officers, Smith was released on $500 bond to the custody of the Fort Riley military police. After being taken to Fort Riley, he was transferred Tuesday to the U.S. Army's Regional Confinement Facility in Fort Sill, Okla. No further information was available.