Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

After manhunt, Tampa police arrest fugitive sexual predator

TAMPA — A sexual predator who went on the run last month amid allegations that he harmed a young girl was captured early Monday in Lakeland.

Christopher Leon Jones, 37, was taken into custody about 4 a.m. at a home on Fairway Drive after police received an anonymous tip, authorities said.

Jones became the subject of a high-profile search on Christmas Eve when he cut off an electronic ankle monitor that he was required to wear as a condition of his sex offender probation, police said. He then vanished.

Tampa police issued several pleas for tips leading to his arrest. Clear Channel put up billboards with a photo of the wanted man. Officials offered a $5,000 reward, hoping the money might be an incentive for someone to give up Jones' hiding spot.

Police say the tipster saw Jones' picture on a billboard and called law enforcement.

The call led police and U.S. marshals, who are part of the Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force, to a duplex in Lakeland early Monday.

The group verified Jones was inside and surrounded the duplex.

Jones wouldn't come out and crawled through the attic to an adjacent unit, police said.

Task force members entered the duplex with the assistance of Polk County's SWAT deputies. They found Jones hiding under a sink, authorities said.

He was booked in jail before 6  a.m. Monday and held without bail on charges of sexual battery, lewd and lascivious molestation, and probation violation, according to jail records.

The same day that Jones disappeared, detectives were investigating allegations he had sexually battered a 12-year-old female relative on Dec. 23, police said.

Jones was released from prison in 2011 after serving about eight years for sexual battery, according to the Department of Corrections. The victim was a young family member, Tampa police said.

In August, Jones was convicted of a probation violation and sentenced to community control, court records show.

Staff writer Jessica Vander Velde contributed to this report.

After manhunt, Tampa police arrest fugitive sexual predator 01/06/14 [Last modified: Monday, January 6, 2014 9:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 24: A pilgrim reaches the Cruz de Ferro, an important milestone on the journey to Santiago

    Travel

    Day 24: Foncebadon to Molinaseca: 20.3 km, 6 hours. Total for Days 1-24 = 561 km (349 miles)

  2. Sprint is reportedly seeking a merger with Charter, the nation's second-biggest cable company

    Business

    Sprint, the nation's fourth-largest wireless network, is pursuing a merger with the cable company Charter Communications, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

  3. Steve Cishek latest bullpen upgrade for Rays, who now must translate that to wins

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — The Rays made another addition to change the look of their bullpen Friday in acquiring veteran side-armer and former closer Steve Cishek from Seattle.

    Reliever Steve Cishek has a 3.15 ERA in 20 games after recovering from offseason hip surgery and a 1.86 ERA since a rocky second outing of the season.
  4. Ex-priest in Boston sex abuse scandal released from prison

    Nation

    BOSTON — A convicted pedophile priest at the center of Boston's Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal settled into an apartment in western Massachusetts on Friday, across the street from a children's dance studio.

    Paul Shanley, 86, has completed a 12-year sentence for the rape of a boy in the 1980s.
  5. Russia seizes 2 U.S. properties and orders embassy to cut staff

    World

    MOSCOW — Russia took its first steps Friday to retaliate against proposed U.S. sanctions for Moscow's suspected meddling in the 2016 election, seizing two U.S. diplomatic properties and ordering the U.S. Embassy to reduce staff by September.