Sex offender landlord dies on eve of court appearance

Michael Lahoud

August 29, 2011 3:10:13 PM PDT
Police say they're investigating the death of a Raleigh landlord accused of molesting a tenant's children.

Michael Lahoud, 55, of 1905 Grove Point Ct., Raleigh, was expected to appear in court Monday and likely would have been sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

Those who knew Lehoud, say he hated jail and after two months behind bars, he and his family came up with his $2.5M bond.

A mother of one of his alleged victims told ABC11 Eyewitness News, she believed he had molested hundreds of children and knew of over 30.

She said Lehoud molested her son ten years ago when he was a young boy.

After learning of Lahoud's death, the woman says she was happy to tell her son he was found in his car at an office complex on Harps Mill Road near his north Raleigh home. He had been shot to death and although his death is an apparent suicide.

"I've seen jubilation in my son's voice today, and a light that came back that was never there -- that that man took." she said choking up. and a light that came back that was never there - that that man took."

The woman says she is celebrating the news.

"We're celebrating today, celebrating," she said. "This is a celebration. My son and I had this conversation yesterday. We knew we would never see the cuffs on that man."

Even though Lahoud is dead, his latest victims will never get to see him accept responsibility.

"I feel sorry for the children who were expecting to see justice today because they didn't," she added.

Melanie Shekita, the attorney who was prosecuting Lahoud, said it's a sad situation for everyone involved.

"The case has ended. Obviously we couldn't go forward with it," said Wake County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Shekita. "For me, it means another child will never be molested again by him, but it's a sad situation by all involved."

Lahoud, who was listed on North Carolina's sex offender registry, had multiple convictions for indecent liberties with minors. In each case, plea agreements kept him out of jail.

In 2002, he was sentenced to a year of probation for an offense in 2001.

In 2004, he was sentenced to two years of probation for offenses in 1994, 1998, and 2001.

He was rearrested on indecent liberties charges in 2008 and a charge of attempted second-degree rape was added in early 2009.

According to a search warrant filed in his case, Lahoud managed rental properties around Wake County.

While out on bond, he tried to open a daycare center in one of the buildings he owned. He lined up investors but a judge stopped the plan.

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