Police looking for sex offender
Police in Whitley County, as well as U.S. Marshals are on the lookout for a local convicted sex offender who is wanted for more sex-related charges.DeWayne E. Stewart, 47, is wanted in Whitley County for child seduction and failing to register as a sex offender.Stewart has a prior conviction for sexual misconduct with a minor, according the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department.The Whitley County Prosecuting Attorney’s office filed charges of child seduction May 24 and issued a warrant for failing to register as a sex offender on July 28.Stewart’s earlier conviction of sexual misconduct with a minor stemmed from an incident in 2004, according to police.Earlier this week a deputy U.S. Marshal came to the sheriff’s office to report that an anonymous tip indicated Stewart might return to Whitley County.“The federal marshal came here to let us know he’d received some kind of tip that he (Stewart) might be back here,” said Sheriff Mark Hodges.That deputy U.S. Marshal, William Booth, also serves as the Sex Offender Investigations Coordinator for Northern Indiana with a territory of 32 Hoosier counties.Hodges said his department had also received a tip on Stewart’s whereabouts which indicated that the suspect was seen near a bridge west of Columbia City.“That tip proved fruitless,” said Hodges, “but obviously we’ll follow up on any tips we receive.”According to police, Stewart was arrested March 18 in Buncombe County, N.C. but was released and has not been seen or heard from since.Conditions of Stewart’s conviction from the 2004 incident include his requirement to register as a convicted sex offender.The last contact between local authorities and Stewart was Nov. 25, 2009 when a sheriff’s deputy went to his residence at 554 Pinecrest in Columbia City to verify he was still residing there and found Stewart at home.Pam Mozdzierz, Public Information Officer for the U.S. Marshal Service’s Northern Indiana District said the visit by a federal deputy marshal to Whitley County was part of a cooperative program made possible by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.“It (The Walsh Act) enables us to help local entities in tracking down local fugitives who fail to register (as sex offenders),” said Mozdzierz.“It creates a synergy that comes with pooling resources and information,” she said.The law, enacted July 27, 2006, is named for Adam Walsh who was kidnapped 25 years to the day from the law’s enactment. The boy was later found murdered.Adam’s father John went on to host “America’s Most Wanted,” a show responsible for putting more than 1,100 fugitives behind bars as well as the recovery of more than 50 missing children.