Sex offenders living among us, and off police's radar

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - If you hop on Idaho's sex offender registry you'll find page after page of sex offenders. There is currently around 35 hundred sex offenders that have have served their time behind bars and are now out on the streets.

The United States Marshal Service is tasked with tracking down sex offenders who cross state lines.

"I personally believe in prioritizing different criminal behavior and sex offenses are generally on the top of the priority list for me," said Brian Underwood, U.S. Marshal for Idaho.

On the sex offender registry website there are about 250 non-compliant offenders. These are ex-cons who haven't updated their information on the site. The Marshal Service says it's dedicated to tracking down sex offenders when they go missing.

"It's a daily activity, everyday we're looking for these people actively. We're going to look for the most dangerous (offenders). That's our number one priority, the most dangerous of the dangerous," said Deputy U.S. Marshal Richard Tapp.

We checked with all the counties in the Treasure Valley to see who law enforcement is looking for. Canyon County is the only county to provide KBOI 2NEWS with names. They are Christopher Longoria and Jerry Wayne Burton. Longoria was convicted of lewd conduct with a child; Burton was convicted of sexually abusing a child.

"Through the investigations so far the two cases (you asked about), we feel they've fled Idaho and we're actually searching for them at this time," Tapp said.

And that's when the Marshal Service takes the lead, when offenders cross state lines.

KBOI 2NEWS reporter Brian Morrin set out to see what he could dig up on Jerry Wayne Burton. He's one of the non-compliant offenders Canyon County said it was looking for.

Brian went to the home of the last known address for Jerry Burton. It's in Nampa.

"He doesn't live here anymore. He moved well over a year ago. I heard from the landlord that their mom got sick so he up and moved out of state," said the unidentified woman who now lives in the home.

Burton committed his crime in Ogden, Utah then moved here to Idaho. Bouncing around between states is a common pattern for sex offenders.

Brian also asked the neighbor next door if he knew about Burton and his past.

"I've seen that guy but I don't know him," said neighbor Neale Browning.

Browning voiced frustration that Idaho doesn't have a law requiring registered sex offenders to knock on doors and notify neighbors that they live in the neighborhood. That's how it works in other states where he's lived like California and Michigan.

Tracking down sex offenders is an endless pursuit. The Marshal Service says it will not let up.

"Sex offenders leave a trail of destruction.. the lives that they ruin.. the children that are molested.. if they're not registering, the likelihood is they're out there doing something that they shouldn't," Underwood said.