The Extraordinary Case of Nicholas Alahverdian: From Faking Death to Extradition

True Crime Lounge
4 min readOct 5, 2023

In a convoluted tale of deception and evasion, Nicholas Alahverdian, a convicted sex offender, made headlines when he faked his own death to avoid facing rape charges in the United States. However, his elaborate scheme eventually unraveled, leading to his arrest in Scotland and a subsequent extradition battle. This article delves into the extraordinary case of Nicholas Alahverdian, exploring the events that unfolded, the legal proceedings, and the implications of his actions.

Early Life and Allegations

Nicholas Alahverdian, also known as Nicholas Rossi and Arthur Knight, has been at the center of a series of disturbing allegations. Born on July 11, 1987, Alahverdian claimed to have suffered abuse and negligence within Rhode Island’s social service system, specifically the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF). These allegations of mistreatment led to a lawsuit against the DCYF in 2011, which was later dismissed when Alahverdian’s medical expenses debt was waived.

Throughout his life, Alahverdian struggled with behavioral and mental health issues, leading to his placement in psychiatric care at Butler Hospital and Bradley Hospital. Diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder and attention deficit disorder, he was eventually placed under the care of the DCYF’s “night-to-night” program, which involved spending days at a DCYF building and nights at various shelters in Rhode Island.

The Faked Death

In a desperate attempt to escape the impending rape charges, Alahverdian orchestrated an elaborate plan to fake his own death. By late 2019, he had already taken steps to disappear, including hiring an attorney to have his name removed from Rhode Island’s sex offender registry. Shortly after, he began telling reporters and acquaintances that he was diagnosed with late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma, claiming he had only weeks to live.

The culmination of his scheme came in February 2020, when news outlets reported Alahverdian’s death. An obituary, believed to be written by Alahverdian himself, circulated online. Despite the media reports, law enforcement authorities, working in collaboration with the Rhode Island State Police, suspected foul play and issued an arrest warrant for Alahverdian. DNA evidence from a previous case connected him to a rape in Utah, further deepening the investigation.

Arrest in Scotland

Alahverdian’s plan began to unravel when Interpol tracked him down in a Scottish hospital in October 2021, where he was receiving treatment for COVID-19.

Despite his attempts to assume a new identity as Arthur Knight, authorities, including Sheriff Norman McFadyen, confirmed that Alahverdian was indeed the fugitive they were seeking. The arrest marked a turning point in the case, leading to a series of legal proceedings and extradition battles.

The Extradition Battle

Since his arrest, Alahverdian has been fighting against extradition to the United States to face the pending rape charges in Utah. He has received significant legal aid from the British government, with reports estimating that over £40,000 ($50,000) of taxpayer money has been allocated towards his defense. The extradition battle has been a lengthy and intricate process, involving multiple court appearances and testimonies.

Sheriff Norman McFadyen, presiding over the case, has been skeptical of Alahverdian’s claims and assertions. Despite Alahverdian’s protests of mistaken identity and conspiracy theories involving hospital staff and fingerprints, Sheriff McFadyen ruled that Alahverdian could be extradited to Utah. The judge described Alahverdian as “dishonest and deceitful” and emphasized the straightforward nature of the case.

Implications and Reactions

The ruling on Alahverdian’s extradition has brought relief to authorities and victims who have been seeking justice for years. Kathryn Heckendorn, a victim of Alahverdian’s abuse, expressed her happiness that the Scottish court saw through his deceit. Former Rhode Island Representative Brian Coogan, who had personal experience with Alahverdian as a State House page, also welcomed the decision, acknowledging the opportunity for victims to tell their stories.

The case of Nicholas Alahverdian serves as a stark reminder of the lengths some individuals will go to avoid facing the consequences of their actions. It also highlights the importance of international cooperation and extradition treaties in bringing fugitives to justice. As the legal proceedings continue, the full impact of Alahverdian’s actions and the resolution of the case remain to be seen.


The extraordinary case of Nicholas Alahverdian captivated the attention of the public as he attempted to evade rape charges by faking his own death. From his troubled early life to the elaborate scheme he devised, Alahverdian’s actions have had far-reaching consequences. Through a series of legal battles and extradition proceedings, the truth eventually came to light, leading to his arrest in Scotland. As the case continues to unfold, the victims and authorities involved hope for justice to be served and for Alahverdian to be held accountable for his alleged crimes.