1 Of 8 Sex Offenders Off Law Enforcement Radar - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/28/05-Van Zandt/Kaufman County

1 Of 8 Sex Offenders Off Law Enforcement Radar

Authorities in East Texas have lost track of 19 registered sex offenders in just two counties.

Sex offenders could be living in your neighborhood and you may not even know it.

They don't live at the addresses they've reported to local law enforcement, the addresses listed on the Texas DPS Sex Offender Database. So they could be anywhere.

"That's scary," Jatora Yarbrough, a Van Zandt County resident with nieces and nephews, said. "That's really scary."

"A person who forgets, they usually come in the next week," Sheriff Pat Burnett said. "These people are moving."

And the Van Zandt County sheriff says that makes those sex offenders more likely to re-offend.

East Texans, especially those with children or nieces and nephews, are shocked that so many sex offenders have gone unaccounted for by law enforcement.

"If they can't keep up with them, they need to find a new way to keep up with them," Junior Shamlin, another county resident, said.

"I hope they catch them," Kristy Garza, a mother of four, said. "I hope they find everybody."

That's exactly what authorities say they will do now and after the next sex offender roundup.

"If you're a sex offender and you're registered and you're not where you're supposed to be in this county, it may be next month and it may be next year, but we will be there," Burnett said.

This time around, Van Zandt County officers say four out of 38 sex offenders are noncompliant. Two other offenders were arrested for minor offenses.

And in Kaufman County, 14 of 117 offenders are noncompliant. Seven others have been arrested, one for injury to a child.

Officers say they still have much left to do to keep residents safer.

You can find out which sex offenders live near you, but only if they've reported their current address to authorities. Go to the Texas DPS Sex Offender Database. If you spot an address where a sex offender is supposed to live, and you know he or she is not, report it to local law enforcement immediately.

Julie Tam, reporting. jtam@kltv.com


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