Lone Star Fugitive Task Force ramping up efforts to tackle sex assault cases
The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force says the vast majority of their caseload is sex assault offenses. Now they're looking at different ways to ease the problem, including short-term fugitive operations. These operations would mean the task force would specifically go after sexual assault fugitives, to make sure they are brought to court and answer for their alleged behavior.
A man with Austin ties has been added to the Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offenders list. 54-year-old Kevin Waddell has been wanted since 2015 for parole violation and failure to register as a sex offender. Authorities believe he may have fled the state.
"In most of our instances, we're dealing with sex offenders who have typically committed another crime and they're trying to get away from the local area as quick as they can," says Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Hector Gomez, Lone Star Fugitive Task Force.
Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Hector Gomez says the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force will continue to go after sex offenders who have violated the requirement to register. In addition to that, they now plan to put a stronger focus on going after fugitives who've committed sexual assault-type offenses and have not been apprehended. They say the need is there.
"Let's come up with an approach where we're day in and day out, 7 days a week if need be, going after these fugitives," says Gomez.
Gomez says short-term fugitive operations may be their solution.
"What we're going to do is spend three on average, three months. Everyone's going to get a caseload from the task force, let's say ten a piece. I'm just going to throw a number out, ten a piece. They're going to work each one of those, that's their case, they own that case. They're going to work cases, they're going to develop informants, they're going to run databases, they're going to check with known work-sites," says Gomez.
From there, they will develop a file and then identify where that person is likely staying.
"After three months of looking at all these cases and vetting them and working them up, then on an announced date internally, we're going to start sending leads out, we're going to start hitting the streets and going after these targets," says Gomez.
These operations could essentially last a month. Gomez says they will tackle as many cases as they can to bring the caseload down. They hope this will also bring justice to victims.
"The sexual assault-type offenses, I mean for the most part, especially when they're being committed against children and minors, no one has a voice for them. So we tend to hopefully pick up that, serve as that voice for the innocent victims out there," says Gomez.