Sex offender from Everett at large after cutting off monitor

EVERETT — When a convicted sex offender from Snohomish County apparently cut off his GPS monitoring device in Colorado on Friday night, it took just 22 minutes to issue a warrant for his arrest.

Eric Eugene Hartwell, 51, remained on the lam Tuesday.

Friday’s apparent escape was not the first time Hartwell disappeared while on community supervision.

On March 20, 2009, while living in a residential home for sex offenders in Smokey Point, Hartwell ditched his electronic ankle bracelet, which another sex offender found behind a chair in the living room.

The escape five years ago appeared planned. Hartwell received a FedEx package of clothes from California the day before. He’d also recently withdrawn $1,500 from his bank account.

The former Everett man fled to Texas where he was arrested less than two weeks later for failing to register as a sex offender. He resisted arrest when U.S. marshals tried to handcuff him and threatened to assault an officer, according to U.S. Department of Justice accounts in Texas.

On Friday evening, he absconded from the Independence House, a home for ex-convicts in Denver. Once again, Hartwell recently had been released from custody. This time, he was on federal supervision for the remainder of his life, said Charles Ahmad, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshal’s office in Denver, Colo.

Ahmad said it is unknown if Hartwell was thought to be returning to Snohomish County or where he might be headed.

He should be considered dangerous, Ahmad said.

Hartwell was convicted of raping a 6-year-old child in Snohomish County in 1991.

In September 1996, he was convicted of attempting to sexually assault a pregnant hitchhiker, 17, in Skagit County. The victim fought him in the vehicle and got away after someone noticed the confrontation. He was sentenced to more than four years in prison for attempted indecent liberties.

For the past 13 years, Hartwell has cycled in and out of custody for failing to register as a sex offender.

In 2000, a state Department of Corrections community custody officer reported Hartwell was “out of control” and had made threats to his treatment provider.

After a 2007 arrest, Hartwell wrote a Snohomish County Superior Court judge before being sentenced to more than two years in prison.

He explained that he had been living out of a van, traveling cross country and picking up day labor jobs.

“Deep down I am very ashamed of these crimes and the label that has been placed on me,” he wrote.

Between October 2002 and January 2007, Hartwell lived and worked in 16 states, failing to register as required, according to Snohomish County court records.

The U.S. Marshal’s Office plans a cash reward for tips leading to his arrest and conviction.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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