Sheriff's investigators had been looking for 30 people who failed to provide a proper address to the county's sex offender registry, but the list was nearly whittled in half after The Robesonian published the names of those who were being sought.
“They saw their names in the paper,” Sheriff's Detective Lt. Howard Branch said. “A lot of them thought they were in compliance, but it turned out they weren't.”
Investigators with the Robeson County Juvenile Task Force started a campaign on Aug. 1 to make sure the county's 154 registered sex offenders were living at the addresses they had supplied the Sheriff's Office.
Sex offenders have 10 days to register with the Sheriff's Office after they move to a new address. Failure to do so can result in a felony charge. Fourteen sex offenders contacted the Sheriff's Office and deputies continue to seek the remaining 16.
“We might get one more maybe two to turn themselves in; the rest of them we'll probably have to look for,” Branch said. “We got warrants out on them so we'll still look for them. If anyone happens to know where these people may be, they can call the Sheriff's Office.”
North Carolina created the sex-offender registry in response to worries about sexual predators. The registry enables the public to find out where sex offenders live.
“These people have moved from their last verified address so we don't know where they are,” Branch said. “They're sex offenders and they could offend again. They're breaking the law by not verifying their addresses.”
Names and pictures of the sex offenders can be found on the Internet. People can search the state's registry Web site for local convicted sex offenders at www.ncregistry.ncsbi.gov or www.mapsexoffenders.com.
Warrants have been issued for the following people: Kenneth Lee Hammonds, 25, of 2250 Smith Mill Road, Lumberton; Howard Zeigler, 36, of 407 Scotland St., Maxton; Vernon V. Blackhorse, 56, address unknown, Red Springs; Edwin Godinez, 32, of 114 Rosewood Mobile Home Park, Lumberton; David E. Johnson, 43, of 4365 Cabinet Shop Road, Rowland; Cresencio S. Leyva, 22, of 427 Morgan J Road, Shannon; James Bass, 64, of Route 2 Box 234 B, St. Pauls; Leonard Strickland, 31, address unknown, Lumberton; Jason K. Durden, 32, of 12653 N.C. 72 East, Lumberton; Aaron T. Kearns, 27, of 4078 Tar Heel Road, Lumberton; Kentrill Griffen, 26, address unknown, Lumberton; Joseph D. Ransom, 45, address unknown, Fairmont; Gustario Cabrerra Sorian, 20, of 6449 Chickenfoot Road, St. Pauls; Silvestre Lara Martinez, 29, address unknown, Marietta; Leroy Sinclair McCrimmon, 46, of Lumberton; and Geraldo Morin, 42, address unknown, Lumberton.
Anyone with information can call the Robeson County Sheriff's Office at 671-3100.