I-Team: Few monitors for absconded sex offenders

Posted at 2:52 AM, Oct 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-02 02:52:39-04
When sex offenders go off the grid, they become difficult to track.
No one knows the dangers of runaway sex offenders more than the local family of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford.
Her killer failed to properly register as a sex offender and was unaccounted for. He later climbed in Jessica's room, kidnapped her, raped her and buried her alive.
Currently there are more than 750 missing or absconded sex offenders and 288 absconded career offenders in the state of Florida.
Assistant Special Agent in Charge Seth Montgomery in Tallahassee heads up a special task force aimed at tracking down and arresting these off-the-grid sex offenders.
The I-Team has learned there are only three FDLE inspectors doing the fieldwork statewide.
Currently there's one in Tallahassee, one in Miami, and the other has been in Fort Myers since May of 2014.
Tampa hasn't had any inspectors, hard to believe since we also found Tampa's FDLE Region has the most sex offenders than anywhere in the state.
There are 6,449 registered sex offenders in the Tampa region.
To compare, Orlando has 6,067, and Miami has 2,910.
FDLE supervisors are hoping to expand their absconded sex offender special unit. In their budget proposal, they're requesting $701,036 from the state to put a field inspector in every region. If approved, the total specialized inspectors will go from three to seven.
"I don't feel we have the resources that needs to be done,” Special Agent Montgomery said.
After we started asking questions about the lack of presence in Tampa, FDLE supervisors tell us they are moving the Fort Myers position to Tampa so there will soon be an inspector here regardless if their budget proposal is approved.
To view absconded sex offenders in your area click here.
Go to Jarrod Holbrook's Facebook page to see a video tutorial on how to move through the database.