Newschannel 6 Investigates 'Lost' Sex Offenders - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Newschannel 6 Investigates Lost Sex Offenders

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Although you can look up the criminal history of many convicted sex offenders in Texoma, you can't necessarily track where they live.   Lost sex offenders have been living right here in our community. They're homeless and have no address registered with authorities.

So, how is law enforcement keeping tabs on these offenders and how and where are they spending their time?

"It's just a fact and in reality, there are just going to be some people who don't have a permanent address. It's just a necessity," Sgt. Ginger Gilmore said.

When a sex offender is released back in to society they have seven days to find a place to live.   But if they can not give a physical address, law enforcement lists them as a transient.

"Reality is, when they get out of prison, they're not immediately going to have a job, and if they don't have family or other resources, it's very likely they will be homeless, but that doesn't inherently make them more dangerous than someone who is able to set up a permanent address,"  Sgt. Gilmore said.

When we first started our investigation there were three homeless sex offenders living in Wichita County. You can see their names, faces and charges on the sex offender registry, but you can't search to see if they are living near you and your family.

"We even had one that was sleeping underneath the overpass between Burkburnett and Oklahoma and it would move from time to time and that's what is so difficult on keeping track of them because they don't have a home or can't find a place to live but it's important that we watch them," District Attorney Elect Maureen Shelton said.

So, how does law enforcement keep track of registered sex offenders without a permanent address?

While most sex offenders are court ordered to register either monthly, quarterly or annually, transients are required to check in with their designated registration officer each week.

But what if those sex offenders don't check in like they are supposed to?

We asked law enforcement.

They tell us if those offenders disappear they will then launch an investigation and issue a warrant.

If they're caught, they could end up serving years behind bars.

Even with the homeless sex offenders, Wichita Falls police say they typically know where to look.

"Even on their weekly registration we want some idea of where they're staying," Sgt. Gilmore said.

In Wichita Falls, transient sex offenders are required to give a detailed description of a geographical location and stay within about three blocks of that area.

"If they're staying in a certain park or, I know it sounds terrible, but if they're staying in a certain overpass, we want some idea of where they're hanging out," Sgt. Gilmore said.

Wichita Falls officers say there have only been a few special occasions homeless sex offenders have been allowed to stay at one of the local shelters.

One reason they can not stay at Faith Mission, for example, is because it is within the child safety zone.

While sex offenders are not allowed to live in those child safety zones, for example, within 1000 feet of a park, they are allowed to go to the park, unless, in specific circumstances, it is prohibited by their conditions of parole or probation.

That is a common misconception. We get a lot of phone calls about that, if a sex offender is walking through a certain area, that's not illegal. The part that's illegal is if they establish residence within those areas. But, just walking through or walking past a school or being in that area during the day is not illegal," Sgt. Gilmore said.

Our investigation into 'lost' sex offenders in the falls opened up so many more questions for us.  We learned a lot of things most people don't know about sex offender laws and restrictions.

This week, you're going to hear from the people who try and rehabilitate local offenders, Lindsey Rogers also sat down in a one on one interview with a man convicted of sex crimes here in Wichita County.

Monday night at 10 p.m., Lindsey will break down the child safety zones in Wichita County. She will also be taking a look at some of the areas in Wichita Falls with the highest sex offender populations.

Law Enforcement officers need your help catching this most wanted sex offender in Texoma.

22-year-old Jonathan Guadalupe Cantu is wanted for violation of probation for sexual assault of a child and violation of probation for burglary of a habitation.

He is 5'8'', 170lbs. with black hair and brown eyes.

He has a "Texas" tattoo on his upper left arm and a "Soccer #8" on his upper right arm.

If you have any information that may lead to the capture and arrest of Jonathan Cantu you are asked to call the Wichita County Adult Probation Department at (940) 766-8213.

Texas Sex Offender Registry Online

Johnathan Cantu, 22 years old

 

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