Michigan's Most Wanted: A Look at Sex Offenders' Characteristics

By: A.J. Hilton Email
By: A.J. Hilton Email

Reed James Hockensmith, Randall Lee Dowdy and Sir Frank Moore are just a handful of special sex offender cases the Tri-County Sex Offender Task Force handles. Convicted of sex crimes, they're wanted for failing to register as sex offenders, some choosing to register late.

Trooper Therrien works as a part of the Tri-County Sex offender Task Force, and says one of the most frustrating things is trying to accumulate evidence.

"More and more sex offenders are becoming more aware of what the law is," says Therrien. "The look for ways to try to circumvent."

As the task force continues to catch more offenders, they're starting to see more and more familiar characteristics.

"They're low key...don't want to draw attention to themselves. They feel that the sex offender registry is the scarlet letter," said Therrien.

"Sex offenders in my experience, are more transient than other offenders," said Detective Sergeant Kyle McPhee of the Michigan State Police.

Sgt. McPhee helped to establish the Tri-County Sex Offender Task Force in June of 2005.

"Sex offenders are having a hard time finding a place to live," McPhee said.

Neighborhood watch signs can be big deterrents for sex offenders, simply because they don't want to be identified. When sex offenders don't want to identified, they move. That movement makes it tough for local law enforcement to track them.

"I've seen sex offenders move around as many as seven or eight times a year," said Sgt. McPhee.

The task force takes tips from the public to track offenders. Other times, it's family members calling in their fake addresses.

"They'll hijack an address of a relative and use that instead of where they actually live," said Lieutenant Jeff Campbell of the Eaton Rapids Sheriff's Office. "It ends up making them appear like they live in the neighborhood."

The tips the task force does receive leads to compliance checks to keep the public safe.

"We've done about 11,000 compliance checks, with an 80% success rate," said Sgt. McPhee. "We want every individual on that registry to be accounted for...sometimes it takes years to find these people."

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