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GA: Registry of sex offenders dwindles.

July 15, 2002

GBI blames shortage of staff to keep track
Rhonda Cook

As far as state officials can tell, 166 people with records as sex offenders have vanished. There are probably many more.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, along with local sheriffs, is supposed to track convicted sex offenders' whereabouts and inform the public through an online registry. That way, Georgians can check to see if a sex offender who's been released from prison or is on parole is living near them.

About 30 percent of the certified letters the GBI mails sex offenders reminding them of their obligation to re-register their whereabouts are returned by the post office as undeliverable, acting GBI Director Vernon Keenan says. That usually means the offenders have moved and there is no forwarding address, or they were simply not home when the mail carrier tried to deliver the letters. It's left to authorities to determine which was the case with the 1,200 to 1,800 letters that are returned each year, Keenan said.

The GBI has determined that 166 offenders cannot be found, said Keenan. The number is expected to rise as the agency combs through about 3,000 more returned letters.

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Source: 2002 The Atlanta Journal Constitution