'It could be your next door neighbor': County searches for AWOL sex offenders
They're convicted sex offenders now wanted for new crimes. Trouble is: law enforcement has no idea where they are.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Jul. 25, 2013
COCHISE COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - They are convicted sex offenders now wanted for new crimes. Trouble is: law enforcement has no idea where they are. That's where the public comes in -- after an out-the-ordinary plea from the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office.
The law requires -- and citizens expect -- sex offenders to stay registered with local law enforcement.
“We want a safe city,” one Sierra Vista woman said.
“Otherwise, our neighborhood is threatened,” a man added. “Everybody feels threatened if they don't follow the rules.”
But deputies reported four “serious offenders” are breaking the law: Shawn Cassidy, 33; Thomas Ceresia, 46; Randy Ellis, 48; and Thomas Lawson, 37.
Read more about their crimes and last reported whereabouts below.
Their last addresses were in Cochise County, but the sheriff's office hasn't heard from them in awhile. In some cases, the last contact was years ago.
“If they're not willing to do that particular portion of it, it makes us concerned of what else they're actually doing,” said Carol Capas, sheriff’s office spokeswoman.
On top of that, all are wanted for other, new crimes.
"It's concerning to us that we don't have an idea where they're at and we need to find them," Capas said.
The department published their pictures and is asking for the public to call with any information.
People in the county have a real cause for concern. When offenders don't check in, law enforcement can't let folks know when one moves into the neighborhood.
“So, in essence, you could be living next door to somebody who should be registered and who's not,” Capas said. “What kind of sense of security is that going to give you?”
“It could be your next door neighbor, for all you know,” one county resident said.
“If you have people running around here you don't know who they are or what they look like that's bothersome,” another person added.
This happens in many places. Six offenders are classified as “absconders” in the Pima County Sheriff's Department jurisdiction. There 238 total across the state.
Call the sheriff’s office at 800-362-0812 with any information. Deputies stress not to confront any of the men.
Here is more detailed information from the sheriff's office on the four absconders:
Shawn Cassidy, 33
Last known address: W. Wilson St.., Willcox, AZ
Conviction: 1994 sexual abuse in Oregon
Absconded: October 24, 2012
Thomas Ceresia, 46
Last known address: E. Navajo St., Huachuca City, AZ
Conviction: 1989 sexual abuse in Illinois; 1991 sexual abuse in Illinois
Absconded: May 13, 2013
Randy Ellis, 48
Last known address: N. Taylor Rd., Willcox, AZ
Conviction: 1991 sexual conduct with minor in Cochise County Superior Court
Absconded: March 25, 2010
Thomas Lawson, 37
Last known address: N. Washington Ave., Douglas, AZ
Conviction: 2006 aggravated sexual assault in Vermont
Absconded: September 6, 2012