Matthew Caulk, sex offender, recaptured -- but why was he wearing passive GPS device?
Original post, 6:59 a.m. February 22: When a sex offender walks away from a halfway house, authorities are concerned, sure -- but they don't usually make the sort of full-bore public push for his recapture that the U.S. Marshals Service has launched in the search for Matthew Caulk, 46. Then again, Caulk isn't just any sex offender. He was at the center of a nationwide manhunt back in 2007, when he was involved in a "consensual" relationship with a sixteen-year-old Lakewood girl.
The name of the young woman in question -- Amber Westbrook -- earned lots of publicity at the time because she was considered a runaway rather than a victim of a crime. Indeed, Lakewood Police spokesman Steve Davis told ABC News during a period when Caulk was the focus of reports on numerous national news outlets, not to mention America's Most Wanted, that law enforcers had "absolutely no indication of any criminal behavior.... We don't have a crime here."
Amber Westbrook in 2007.
So why was so much energy expended to find Caulk both here and across the country? As 7News reported at the time, Caulk had been convicted of sexual misconduct with a child in Pierce County, Washington, back in 2002. That bust required him to register as a sex offender, but doing so apparently slipped his mind. Five years later, two warrants for failing to register were active in his name -- one in Yellowstone County, Montana, and the other in Lakewood, where, according to the AMW website, Caulk and Westbrook met at a community pool. Shortly thereafter, the site goes on, "they started a relationship."
And then they vanished. Amber's stepmother dropped her off at CEC Middle College of Denver on September 25, 2007, but she didn't return home. She and Caulk were spotted in Morrison the next day, but then, they were gone.
A previous mug shot of Caulk.
Fortunately, they didn't go far. During the first week of October, they were found at a home in Morrison, at City View and Turkey Creek Road. Amber was reunited with her family, and Caulk was taken into custody, to begin his latest trek through the criminal justice system. The Marshals Service says he was sentenced in May 2010 to 45 months of federal prison for failing to register as a sex offender. After being freed, he was ordered by a U.S. District judge to serve an additional eight years on supervised release, with his first assignment being a Denver halfway house.
Instead, Caulk split, and he's currently at large -- but not invisible. The Marshals have issued pics aplenty of Caulk, including shots of tattoos on his chest, stomach and limbs.
Continue to see the photos of Matthew Caulk, plus a video.