TAMPA — Police hope a $5,000 reward will be enough to entice someone to give up the hiding spot of a sexual predator who disappeared last week while being investigated for harming a girl.
Christopher Leon Jones, 37, cut off an electronic ankle monitor that he was required to wear as a condition of his sex offender probation, according to police. He is believed to have left his apartment at 1905 Taliaferro Ave. the afternoon of Dec. 24. Police have been unable to locate him since.
The same day that Jones disappeared, detectives were investigating allegations that he had sexually battered a 12-year-old female relative on Dec. 23, police said. He has not been charged in that case, but authorities issued an arrest warrant charging Jones with a probation violation.
Jones was released from prison in 2011 after serving about eight years for a sexual battery conviction, according to the Department of Corrections. The victim was also a young family member, Tampa police said.
In August, Jones was convicted of a probation violation and sentenced to community control, court records show.
Since he vanished, police have issued multiple pleas for tips regarding Jones' whereabouts, noting the unique danger they say he presents to the public.
"There is a 12-year-old little girl who is a victim of a crime, and she's scared," said Tampa police spokeswoman Andrea Davis. "She needs to know that he's behind bars."
A U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force has joined the hunt. Authorities put up the reward under the assumption that someone has helped Jones stay hidden. They hope the money might be an incentive to turn him in.
"We believe he heard we were looking for him. Word got around through his family," Davis said. "Someone has to be helping him … I can't imagine he can stay out of the public eye for this long."
Anyone with information about Jones' whereabouts is asked to call the U.S. Marshals Service at (813) 309-0467.