U.S. Marshals pursuing Willard Wigfield - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

U.S. Marshals pursuing fugitive sex offender from Lake County

Posted: Updated:
Willard Wigfield (Source: U.S. Marshals) Willard Wigfield (Source: U.S. Marshals)
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Region 8 News Investigates: Bacteria in the water

    Region 8 News Investigates: Bacteria in the water

    Thursday, July 24 2014 11:45 PM EDT2014-07-25 03:45:18 GMT
    An abundance of lakes and rivers means no shortage of swimmers in Region 8 but not every body of water is one you want to swim in.
    An abundance of lakes and rivers means no shortage of swimmers in Region 8 but not every body of water is one you want to swim in.

  • Central Baptist Church goes 'To-The-Block' to party

    Central Baptist Church goes 'To-The-Block' to party

    Thursday, July 24 2014 11:51 PM EDT2014-07-25 03:51:41 GMT
    JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 church is taking its message to the streets.Members of Central Baptist Church’s Word Campus hosted a “To-The-Block Party” at Cedar Manor Apartments Thursday evening. The church has hosted a block party in a North Jonesboro neighborhood for three consecutive weeks in an effort to build relationships with each community."Instead of always trying to ask them to come to us we felt like it was important that we just picked up our lives and brought our lives to mee...
    JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 church is taking its message to the streets.Members of Central Baptist Church’s Word Campus hosted a “To-The-Block Party” at Cedar Manor Apartments Thursday evening. The church has hosted a block party in a North Jonesboro neighborhood for three consecutive weeks in an effort to build relationships with each community."Instead of always trying to ask them to come to us we felt like it was important that we just picked up our lives and brought our lives to mee...
  • Mayor of Caruthersville killed in house fire

    Mayor of Caruthersville killed in house fire

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:00 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:00:14 GMT
    The mayor of Caruthersville was killed in a fire at his home Wednesday night.
    The mayor of Caruthersville was killed in a fire at his home Wednesday night.
MASSILLON, OH (WOIO) -

The U.S. Marshals led Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force is requesting the public's help to locate a convicted sex offender currently on the run.

Massillon, OH resident Willard Wigfield, 32, had previously pled guilty in the Lake County Common Pleas Court to a charge of rape of a child under the age of 15.

Wigfield was charged following an investigation conducted by the Mentor-on-the-Lake Police Department. Wigfield was on bond and scheduled to appear for his sentencing on Monday, July 8, 2013.

Wigfield failed to appear for his sentencing and a warrant was issued for his arrest. As part of his conditions of bond, Wigfield had been wearing an electronic monitoring device around is ankle.

When Wigfield did not show up for court, authorities checked the location of the ankle monitor. The device was sending signals from the Tuscarawas River near New Philadelphia, OH. An extensive search of the river by local authorities failed to locate Wigfield or the device.

The Marshals Service, along with the Lake County Sheriff's Office and Mentor-on-the-Lake Police, immediately launched an investigation and quickly developed evidence that Wigfield had cut off his bracelet and was on the run.

During the late night hours of July 9, investigators developed information that Wigfield had traveled to Orlando, FL and Osceola County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to a hotel in an attempt to arrest him.

When deputies arrived Wigfield was no longer in the room, however they did locate 33-year-old Robert Mahaffey of New Philadelphia, OH. Florida authorities arrested Mahaffey for his involvement in Wigfield's flight from Ohio. Mahaffey, who had been identified as a close family friend of Wigfield, is being held in the Osceola County Jail on the first degree felony charge of accessory after the fact to the crime of rape.

Task force investigators then discovered that on Friday, July 5, Wigfield made known his plans to flee and enlisted the help of one of his sisters. The sister, identified as 28-year-old Stephanie Smith of Coshocton, OH rented a vehicle for her brother, and that vehicle was recovered by police at the Florida hotel. On Wednesday, July 10, members of the task force traveled to Coshocton, and with the help of the Coshocton County Sheriff and Prosecutor, obtained an arrest warrant charging Smith with obstructing justice, a third degree felony. Smith was arrested on the warrant is currently being held in the Coshocton County Jail.

Investigators have developed solid information that other subjects aided Wigfield and lied to cover his tracks when confronted by law enforcement. U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott stated, "Although the primary focus at this point is getting this dangerous sexual predator off the streets, investigators anticipate charging several other individuals for their roles in aiding his flight."

Wigfield is described as a white male, standing 5'07", weighing approximately 190 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair. Wigfield is known to spend almost all of his free times at locations frequented by juveniles such as skating rinks, playgrounds, and swimming pools. When Wigfield fled his residence he was with his dog, a brown and black Pomeranian-Poodle mix.

At this point, other than knowing Wigfield had been in the Orlando area on Tuesday, investigators are unsure as to his whereabouts at this time. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Willard Wigfield is encouraged to contact the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at 1-866-4WANTED or Text keyword WANTED and tip to TIP411 (847411) Tipsters can remain anonymous and reward money is available.

Powered by WorldNow

472 Craighead Co. 766
Jonesboro, AR 72401
(870) 931-8888

FCC Public File
publicfile@kait8.com
(870) 336-1816
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KAIT. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.