Sex Offenders Hiding From Law Enforcement, Neighbors

You can usually find out if a convicted sex offender lives near you by searching the online DPS database. Usually. Because some sex offenders are hiding from the system.

Take Wayne Eugene Mauldin, awaiting trial. He's accused of failing to register for indecency with a child.

"He was living in Smith County and apparently has moved around several times and failed to comply," Pamela Dunklin, a detective with the Smith County Sheriff's Department, said.

According to sheriff's records, Mauldin used to live on Smith County Road 376, up until the end of last year. But his neighbors say they never knew he was a sex offender.

"It worries me that a sex offender in our midst, with the women, with the children, unregistered, unknown to us. No!" Dana Eby, one man, said with fury.

His wife used to let Mauldin into their home to use the phone.

"My husband's at work a lot," Shirley Eby said. "And if I would have knew that, I would've had my door locked, not let him into my house."

Mauldin now lives on Highway 31 East in Smith County.

Another sex offender in court today: Rodrick Leon Osborn. He's convicted of sexually assaulting a child. He's also accused of failing to register.

"The harm is if we can't track them, we no longer know if they're living in our county, if they've moved to another state," Dunklin said.

According to Smith County court records, Darryl K. Matthews, convicted of sexual assault, likes to visit Tyler from Floresville, a small town outside San Antonio. Matthews is required to notify police if he spends more than 48 hours in any city at least three times a month. But police say he did not.

"They think they can beat the system," Dunklin said.

"I think everybody should just have the right to know where they're at," Shirley said.

With more than 250 sex offenders living in Smith County alone, you'll find one in virtually every zip code.

The Sheriff's Department says about five percent of sex offenders in the county fail to register.

Julie Tam, reporting.