Woman sought on David Caruso stalking charge


VIENNA, Austria -- Austrian authorities searched Wednesday for a woman who failed to appear for the start of her trial on charges of stalking and threatening to kill "CSI: Miami" star David Caruso.

A judge signed a warrant for the woman's arrest after she failed to show up for Wednesday's trial in the city of Innsbruck, Austrian media reported. The Tiroler Tageszeitung newspaper said her lawyer had reassured authorities last week that she intended to be in court.

The public prosecutor's office in the alpine province of Tyrol said the suspect vanished without a trace and took her laptop with her.

Prosecutors allege the woman sent more than 100 letters to Caruso and pursued the American actor for an autograph. They said Caruso received death threats after refusing to give her the autograph.

In line with Austrian privacy laws, authorities identified the defendant only as a 41-year-old native of Tyrol. She was identified after a joint investigation by the FBI and Austria's Federal Criminal Investigations Bureau.

A 2007 letter allegedly containing the threat bore a Miami postmark and showed up in Caruso's fan mail, Austrian authorities said. They said it read in part: "I will locate you and your ugly Latina tramp and kill you."

The 52-year-old Caruso is the star of the CBS series and plays Miami police Lt. Horatio Caine.

It was unclear whether the Latina reference alluded to actress Alana De La Garza, who played Caruso's TV wife until her character was gunned down by drug dealers.

Because of the location of the trial, Austrian media have dubbed the affair "CSI: Innsbruck."

The Austria Press Agency reported Wednesday that Karin Treichl, a court-appointed psychiatrist, testified that the suspect had been diagnosed with a "profound personality disorder."

Officials said the woman originally had been ordered to appear in court in July 2007, but was outside the country at the time and never showed up, delaying the proceedings until this week.

If convicted, she faces up to three years' imprisonment under Austria's recently toughened anti-stalking law, and the possibility of additional time if charged, tried and convicted on related charges of eluding justice.