DCSO continues kidnap investigation | TahoeDailyTribune.com

DCSO continues kidnap investigation

by Merrie Leininger and Sheila Gardner

It’s been more than a week since an 8-year-old elementary school girl reported a kidnapping attempt at gunpoint and Douglas County sheriff’s deputies are continuing their investigation.

Sgt. Lance Modispacher said officers have been interviewing residents who live close to Scarselli Elementary School. The girl reported she had just left school and was walking home Monday, June 14, when she saw a man with a gun who told her to get into his car.

She ran home and her mother called deputies. The girl was not hurt.

“We haven’t be able to confirm the report,” Modispacher said. “No one else has had sightings of a man of that description.”

Officers have stopped vehicles matching the description the girl gave of a newer-model blue sedan. The child told authorities the man who approached her was 35 years old, 5 feet 9 inches tall with a heavy build. The suspect was reported to have brown hair and was wearing an orange T-shirt, brown shorts and a white vest, similar to a fishing vest, according to the girl.

“All the officers have been informed of the information we have. We are doing the best we can to put the pieces together, but they are pretty scattered,” he said.

– Prompts calls. The alleged kidnapping attempt has prompted an influx of calls to the DCSO from residents who believe that their neighbors may be convicted felons.

Modispacher said state and federal laws are very specific about what the department is required to do to notify communities when a paroled felon moves into a neighborhood.

“I’d be real surprised if there was a convicted sex offender living in our community that I didn’t know about that we were supposed to tell the community about,” Modispacher said Tuesday. “We do have people who have committed crimes living among us.

“That’s how our society works. Sometimes it doesn’t appear to be fair, but it’s worked for more than 200 years and will stay that way until we change it.”

As long as the ex-felon is obeying the law and terms of his or her parole, privacy is protected.

“We are notified through the state attorney general’s office when a convicted sex offender moves into our area. This person may be a convicted sex offender or child molester, but they may not meet the criteria of Megan’s Law,” Modispacher said.

Megan’s Law was passed a few years ago following the death of a New Jersey girl by a convicted sex offender. It establishes three levels of offenses under which a person is considered to be a threat to the community.

– Three levels. “There are three levels of sex offenders that the state recognizes,” Modispacher said. “A person’s criminal history is protected especially once you’ve served your time and been released. State and county law says once you have been convicted of a felony, you have 24 hours when you move to a community to register with the sheriff’s department as an ex-felon.”

Modispacher said ex-felons are protected by law like anyone else.

“An ex-felon has the right to have a job, make a living and live in a house. He or she has just as much right to protection from harassment as other citizens,” Modispacher said. “If someone uses the telephone or mail to threaten him, that will be looked into as a criminal issue. We may not agree, but that is our law,” Modispacher said.

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