Malcolm Naden
New South Wales' most wanted fugitive Malcolm Naden has been arrested after seven years on the run. New South Wales Police Dept.

Malcom Naden, 38, has been on the lam for seven long years. But in the early morning hours of Thursday, police finally captured him near the Australian city of Gloucester, NSW.

Naden is suspected of strangling his cousin Kristy Scholes, a 24-year-old mother of two. He is also suspected in the disappearance of another cousin, Lateesha Nolan, and a sexual assault on a teenage girl.

Police came close to capturing the fugitive in December, when they raided a campsite near the remote town of Nowendoc. But Naden reportedly shot and wounded an officer, eventually getting away.

Since then, a group of about 50 officers has been in hot pursuit of New South Wales' most wanted criminal.

On Thursday morning, they found their man. The New South Wales Police Tactical Operations Unit and Dog Unit found him on private land just west of Gloucester, and surrounded him. Naden did not put up strong resistance, and no officers were injured. One rifle was seized at the scene of the arrest; a thorough search of the area is still underway.

The search for Naden has been lengthy and has cost authorities millions of dollars.

This result could not have been achieved without the cooperation of communities in northern NSW, whose assistance and vital information has helped police over a long period of time, said Commissioner Scipione said in a media statement. People in those communities deserve praise for their assistance and their perseverance.

Naden is now being questioned by members of Strike Force Durkin in the town of Taree.