New Zealand Investigating Omaha Sex Offender
How police finally caught up with him and why he won't be brought backPhoto: Video by kmtv.com
Omaha, NE-Guy Vershuur was convicted in 1998 for first degree false imprisonment of a minor. This week his name made headlines again.
Fairfax Media in New Zealand reports Verschuur, 51, had been living in Golden Bay, New Zealand. He had been tramping (hiking) with two young women and had become stranded in a Kahurangi National Park hut.
Verschuur, Finnish tourist Jenny Rautio, 26, and American Kristine Mattiace, 22, were rescued by helicopter on Monday night after being stranded by poor weather for a week. Charlotte Squire, with Fairfax Media, reports the three ate worms as their food supply dwindled. She's been covering the story since day one.
"The two people that he did go tramping with did know about his convictions, and that basically he had been getting on with his life since he had been to new zealand. He hadn't ever offended in any other way and they completely trusted him," Squire told KMTV via Skype.
Douglas County Chief Deputy Marty Belik isn't convinced. He says when Vershuur took off and didn't notify police, his status changed to absconded, raising a red flag.
"The problem is when he leaves this country we don't know where he is and we don't know what he is up to. We don't know if he has turned his whole life around and is living his life as a model citizen in some other country. We don't know if he's moved to another country so he can ply his trade in an environment when unknown and he is no longer a suspect and he doesn't have to register," he said.
Fairfax media reports police in both New Zealand and the US have said they have no criminal interest in Verschuur. Belik says they are still debating whether to serve a warrant, but that it would be unlikely they would expedite Verschuur back to the U.S. because it would be wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars.
Immigration NZ says Vershuur's file is now being ''actively reviewed''. In New Zealand, people are required to declare whether or not they are under investigation by a law enforcement agency in any country, or have a criminal record.
Squire says Verschuur arrived in New Zealand on a visitor visa in December 2002, and had become a resident. Vershuur did declare his convictions coming to New Zealand, but our immigration officials are examining how he came to be granted residency.
Vershuur's father, Lawrence, lives in Lincoln. By phone Wednesday night he told KMTV he's always been in contact with his son, and there is no reason to believe he is a repeat offender.
"There's been repetition of anything that would indicate there was an issue to begin with. So I think it's really been blown out of proportion," he said.