ELK GROVE - When investigators revealed Friday that murder suspect Orville "Moe" Fleming had essentially been hiding under a bush for two weeks -- close to where law enforcement began its manhunt -- it was hard for many to believe.
However, a tour of the dense vegetation in the field next to an Elk Grove neighborhood, near Apricot Woods Way and Black Kite Drive, showed plenty of potential hiding places for 55-year-old Fleming.
The grassy, weeded fields used to be 14-year-old Logan Black's playground, but after Elk Grove police found Fleming's Cal Fire truck abandoned nearby on May 1, Logan's parents kept the boy clear of the area.
"We stayed away for a little. I was kind of scared to go down here," Logan said.
For the past two weeks, investigators looked into sightings of Fleming as far away as Oregon, while they continued to search in Sacramento County and other parts of the state. No one really thought Fleming would be found anywhere near Elk Grove, just a couple of blocks from the crime scene, where 26-year-old Sarah Douglas was killed.
Douglas was found stabbed and strangled to death in her south Sacramento home in the 9300 block of Fox River Way on May 1. Fleming was the main suspect in her murder after Douglas body was found by family members.
The intersection in the Elk Grove neighborhood became the starting point for a search that expanded to a statewide manhunt. Then, on Friday, a Sacramento County sheriff's detective spotted Fleming getting on a bus at Calvine Road and Elk Grove Florin Road, about a mile from where Fleming ditched his truck.
Investigators followed the bus to Cosumnes River College where Fleming was arrested without incident. Fleming reportedly told detectives he had been hiding close by under thick vegetation long after helicopters and police dogs had left the area.
"To think he was living in our area where my children take walks every week," Logan's mom Angela Black said.
Black couldn't believe it when she heard reports that Fleming had ventured out from his hiding place to buy food and clothes at a thrift store. She now regrets not acting on an impulse she had at a nearby grocery store just days after Fleming went on the run.
"I happened to be on the phone with my husband, and he said, 'why are you not talking?' And I said, 'I swear Orville is in the grocery store, and other people are looking at him.' And Scott said, 'well, call the police.' I said, 'I don't want to in case it's not really him,'" Black explained.
Investigators were equally surprised that despite intense media attention and efforts to raise public awareness, it seems Fleming was hiding in plain sight during the 16-day manhunt.
"To think that he could have been shopping in our grocery store and eating at the Carl's Jr. across the street and nobody recognized him," Black said.
Fleming declined News10's request for an interview Saturday.