The man accused of stabbing local restaurateur Maudell Grayson was arrested by U.S. marshals Tuesday night in Las Vegas.

Grayson, who owns Dell’z Deli at 1A Cannon St., returned to work one week after being stabbed in the arm nine times near her sister’s house in West Ashley on Oct. 18. Police listed David Israel Smith, Grayson’s ex-boyfriend, as the suspect in the stabbing, but he evaded capture for more than a month and a half.

Frank Conroy, who is in charge of the U.S. Marshals Task Force in Charleston, says Smith enlisted the help of strangers and friends while he was on the run from law enforcement. He says Smith hitched a ride from Charleston to New Orleans, where he got another ride to somewhere in Texas. There, Conroy says, Smith “met up with a band of do-gooders who picked up homeless people.” He says Smith told the driver he was headed to “the marijuana fields of California,” and he got a ride all the way out to the Golden State. From there, he hitched another ride to Las Vegas, where he stayed with a friend he knew from Charleston.

When Conroy had pieced together Smith’s circuitous path across the continent, he called marshals in Las Vegas, who started canvassing the area where they figured Smith was staying. Officers arrested him in the street when they spotted him leaving an apartment building around 7 p.m. Tuesday night. On Wednesday, officials at the City of Las Vegas Detention Center confirmed that Smith was being held there.

Grayson’s arm still hurts when it gets cold, but she says rolling her signature sandwich wraps is like physical therapy. “I’ve got no hate inside me,” she says. According to Nicole Brown, Grayson’s daughter, the family had been receiving threatening phone calls from a variety of area codes, and Grayson says she never left the house alone while Smith was on the lam. The family is breathing easier now, and the patrons at Dell’z Deli on Wednesday night were quick to hug and congratulate the cook they know as Dell.

“It actually made our family closer,” Grayson says.

Earlier this week, Brown called Camille Key, owner of marketing company Charleston After Dark, about setting up a fundraiser to help pay for her mother’s medical bills. Key offered to throw a bash free of charge.

On Sunday, Torch Lounge will host the LoveFest fundraiser from 2 to 10 p.m. The Quentin Baxter Trio will provide the music, and Marcus Amaker will host open-mic poetry. There is a suggested $5 donation for the event, and items will be available for raffle and sale.

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