GOOD HOPE TWP. — Law enforcement officials still search for an escaped sex offender who approached a Hocking County residence Monday night.
Authorities discovered Jeremiah Searles, 31, of Missouri, was missing from a holding area at the Fairfield County Jail annex at the Southeastern Correctional Institution during an 11:30 p.m. bed check, according to Fairfield County Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Voris.
Searles scaled a fence around the complex that was topped with razor wire to make his escape. Police said it appears he used his jail-issued socks to protect his hands from the razor wire, as they found the socks there.
“Someone matching his description knocked on the door of a house on Cantwell Cliff Road (in Good Hope Township) and asked to use the phone,” said Hocking County Sheriff Lanny North. The resident did not allow the man use of a phone or to enter the house. When deputies arrived, the suspect had fled. A Reverse 911 call was issued to residences within a five-mile radius of that location, warning
The fugitive has an acquaintance in Logan, according to North. The man also may have family in the Logan area and a girlfriend in Lancaster. Law enforcement officials have been searching in both counties for him using K-9s and Ohio State Highway Patrol helicopters.
“We’ve been patrolling the roads,” North said Tuesday afternoon, “and checking cabins, vacant buildings.”
Searles is described as being 5’11” and weighing about 148 pounds. He has some distinguishing features — a missing finger on his right hand, as well as tattoos on his left hand, right shoulder and upper right arm.
The man already was wanted on a probation violation for deviate sexual assault in Missouri and he is a registered sex offender in that state.
Searles was in Fairfield County Jail for misdemeanors, having been convicted in Fairfield County Municipal Court for possession of a controlled substance, falsification, obstructing official business and criminal trespassing, according to the court Web site.
If anyone has information as to Searles’ location, please contact the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office at 740-385-2131 or the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office at (740) 652-7240. If you see Searles, do not approach him.