Snohomish County sex offender arrested after nationwide manhunt

EVERETT — A convicted Snohomish County sex offender was arrested at a Virginia motel Friday morning after a nationwide manhunt, according to an Associated Press report.

The U.S. Marshal’s Office had been searching for Eric Eugene Hartwell for a week after he apparently cut off his GPS electronic monitoring device at a Denver halfway house Dec. 21.

Hartwell, 51, was taken into custody in Norfolk, Va. He refused to surrender and officers broke down the door, the Associated Press reported.

Hartwell was serving a three-year sentence for refusing to register as a sex offender in Colorado. He’s on federal supervision for life.

Last week’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. He was arrested two weeks later in Texas for failing to register as a sex offender.

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

Five years later, he was convicted of attempting to sexually assault a pregnant hitchhiker, 17, in Skagit County. 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 2007, Hartwell told a Snohomish County Superior Court judge he’d 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 the judge.

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

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