Video: Manhunt: sex offenders

updated 8/8/2005 7:13:57 PM ET 2005-08-08T23:13:57

It’s time to get missing sex offenders off the street before they strike.  MSNBC-TV's Dan Abrams hosts the weeklong series “Manhunt: Sex Offenders on the Loose,” highlighting some of the most important offenders to alert the public. 

On Wednesday’s segment, Abrams focused on the state of Minnesota — home to 14,000 known sex offenders.  Roughly 11 percent of sex offenders in the state failed to obey certain rules.  Cari Gerlicher, a director of special investigations for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, discusses these issues.


DAN ABRAMS, ‘ABRAMS REPORT’ HOST: Some are simply on the loose like 28-year-old Francisco Chapa, convicted of the violent sexual assault of two women.  He was released from prison in January 2000.  Three months later a warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to report to his parole officer.

So how dangerous is this guy? 

CARI GERLICHER, MINN. DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: Mr. Chapa is very dangerous.  This has been a case that we’ve worked along with the FBI fugitive task force and the U.S. Marshals since he absconded in April of 2000.  The last information that we’ve gotten on Mr. Chapa is that he possibly has fled to Mexico and we have had no further tips on him, in probably the last six to eight months. 

ABRAMS: What exactly was he convicted of back in ‘95 and ‘97? 

GERLICHER: Mr. Chapa was convicted of two different cases of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree.  The latter case in 1997, his victim was a juvenile female in which he actually fled the state for a while before he was apprehended and that juvenile was returned home to her parents.  Both victims were acquaintances to Mr. Chapa. 

ABRAMS: All right, and again, he has been wanted since 2000, right? 

GERLICHER: That is correct.  He has. 

ABRAMS: What do we know about him?

GERLICHER: Well Mr. Van Wyhe also has two convictions for criminal sexual conduct.  He’s another level-three sex offender that’s under supervision by the Minnesota Department of Corrections.  He has been on warrant status since February of this year.  One of the sexual-assault cases that he was involved with was an adult female acquaintance. 

The sexual assault in the second case was a female that he had known for numerous years.  That’s a first-degree criminal sexual conduct.  There was greater threat of force used in that case.  And it should also be known that Mr. Van Wyhe also has an outstanding warrant out of the state of South Dakota for an aggravated assault on another offense that happened after he was put on warrant status in February of this year. 

GERLICHER: Mr. Hoy is a level-two sex offender in the state of Minnesota.  He has been on warrant status since August of 2004.  He has one conviction of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree where the victim in his case was an adult female acquaintance of his.  He also has a conviction of an attempted robbery from 1998 and the warrant for him was issued because he had a positive urinalysis test for alcohol. 

ABRAMS: But again, you don’t know where he is, right? 

GERLICHER: No, we have no idea where he is.  The last address that we had for Mr. Hoy is up in the Duluth, Minnesota area. 

ABRAMS: Billy Ray Reynolds, what do you know about him? 

GERLICHER: Well Mr. Reynolds has been on warrant status since October of 2001.  He has one prior criminal sexual conduct conviction with a juvenile female acquaintance of his.  He is on warrant status.  The last we knew of him he was in the Saint Cloud area or possible Alexandria, Minnesota area and he also has another pending case for criminal sexual conduct with another juvenile female that took place after he went on warrant status, so we’ve actually been looking for him quite heavily as we have with all of these offenders in conjunction with federal agencies and other law enforcement agencies within the state. 

GERLICHER:  Mr. Zemke is a level-one sex offender.  He has one conviction for attempted criminal sexual conduct that took place in 1997.  His warrant was issued because he had failure to contact his agent.  The last known area for him was in the St. Paul, Minnesota area.  He had an attempted sexual assault in which he attempted to assault an adult female acquaintance of his.  He used a knife in the assault.  She was able to fight off Mr. Zemke and run for help, but of course the fact that there was a knife involved in any sexual assault is a very serious offense. 

ABRAMS:  You know I’m just getting so tired of doing these stories where, after the fact, we say, oh, the person was on the run, oh, the person was on the loose, and that’s why we’re doing this, and that’s the number there to call in Minnesota, the Department of Corrections, 651-603-0026, if you know any of these people, there they are.  Is it fair to say these are the most wanted of the sex offenders in Minnesota? 

GERLICHER:  That would be fair to say.  We actually have a top 12 fugitive Web site on our Department of Corrections Web address, but these are the top five sex offenders that we currently are looking for...

ABRAMS:  Real quick, what is the address people can go to?

Watch the 'Abrams Report' for more analysis and interviews on the top legal stories each weeknight at 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV.


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