Former youth minister back in Memphis to face rape charges

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Sheriff ‘s Deputies and U.S. Marshals led Luke Adrian Cooke off the plane at Memphis International Airport Thursday night.

Eight years ago, Cooke was indicted for rape and sexual battery of an 8-year-old and 16-year-old, but before Officers could arrest him, he disappeared.

“He’s been on the run to China then we tracked him to Morocco. Then he went to Albania,” said Sgt. Matthew “Mickey” Keaton with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities told said Cooke was the Youth Minister at a local church when the complaints were made.

His father, John, was the former Band Director at Bartlett High.

The family told others he was working as a teacher.

“We were under the impression he moved overseas. He had just gone through a divorce, was unhappy and wanted a new start,” said Kathy Wright, a family friend.

His family was inside, but wouldn’t open the door for us at their Bartlett home.

Those who know them and Luke said he comes from a good home and this catches them completely by surprise

“I had no idea this was going on I’m just shocked my thoughts and prayers are with the family,” said Sharon Shappard, a family friend.

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