Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kansas fugitive turns himself in at Pasco Sheriff's Office

NEW PORT RICHEY — About 11:45 p.m. Thursday, a man walked into the Pasco Sheriff's administrative office and said he was ready to turn himself in.

Vernon Coleman, 67, had been on the lam for 16 years, wanted on a Kansas warrant for sex crimes against a child. Authorities there spent years searching for the man they described as a "violent sex offender" who could be "armed and dangerous."

But after years of eluding them, it seems, Coleman became tired of life on the run.

"I can't believe it," said Capt. Terry Parham of the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office in Kansas, after learning Coleman had turned himself in. Parham immediately remembered the case — Coleman was well-known throughout the county.

"He went missing after he learned there was a warrant out for his arrest," he said. "But I imagine he just got tired of running since he's getting old."

Pasco sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said Coleman was arrested after authorities checked his name on their system.

"Apparently he is homeless," Doll said. "He's just another one who, as they say, was slipping under the radar."

Parham said the 6-foot, 180-pound man used to own a strip club near Wichita. Coleman used to wear a wig of "really bad long hair" to hide his baldness, Parham said.

"Every time he got arrested, he had to take off his wig for the picture, and I remember that made him really mad," Parham said.

Parham said Coleman had children, and his son was killed by law enforcement in a shootout in Sedgwick County sometime before 1995.

"At one point, he was pretty successful and had a nice car, but those things change over the years," Parham said.

Coleman later worked as a cab driver and a trucker, authorities said. He had a surgical scar on his abdomen from a gunshot wound.

In 1995, he was accused of raping and sodomizing a young girl near a former strip club just outside of Derby, a town south of Wichita. After the incident was reported, Coleman took off.

Coleman is now being held at the Land O'Lakes jail without bail on charges of aggravated criminal sodomy, sexual exploitation of a child and aggravated indecent liberties with a child. He will be extradited back to Kansas.

Kansas fugitive turns himself in at Pasco Sheriff's Office 08/12/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 12, 2011 7:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Blake Snell struggles in return as Rays fall to Pirates

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — Blake Snell talked a good game ahead of his return to the Rays rotation Wednesday night, but he didn't pitch one.

    ON THE BALL: Rays third baseman Evan Longoria makes the play and the throw during the first inning against the Pirates.
  2. College World Series title puts Florida Gators in elite company

    College

    The Florida Gators put themselves in rare company with Tuesday night's College World Series national championship victory.

    Florida ace and Tampa native Alex Faedo (21) lets loose with his teammates after they win the Gators’ first baseball national title.
  3. Lightning prospects mantra: You never know when NHL chance will appear

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Brett Howden said he watched closely last season as former junior teammate Brayden Point made an remarkable rise to a Lightning regular in his first year pro.

    Lightning prospect Mikhail Sergachev skates during the Lightning Development Camp Wednesday at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. McConnell trying to revise the Senate health care bill by Friday

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is aiming to send a revised version of his health care bill to the Congressional Budget Office as soon as Friday as he continues to push for a vote before Congress' August recess.

    Protesters rally against the Senate Republican health care bill Wednesday on the east front of the Capitol building.
  5. Police raise likely death toll in London high-rise blaze

    World

    LONDON — The number of people killed or presumed dead in the London high-rise fire has inched up to 80, but the final death toll may not be known for months, British police said at a grim briefing Wednesday.