Victims to be notified of missing predators

OLYMPIA — Sex crime victims will now be told when their offender escapes supervision by disabling or removing electronic devices used for tracking their whereabouts, state corrections officials said Wednesday.

The change ordered this week comes too late for the Monroe woman who learned from news accounts that the man convicted of raping her in 1995 was on the loose after cutting off his GPS bracelet while living under a bridge in Snohomish.

“I can’t believe they didn’t have that policy in place to begin with,” said Sabrina, who asked that her last name not be used.

David Torrence, 43, escaped supervision April 23, three days after his release from prison. Torrence, a level-3 sex offender, remained at large as of Wednesday night.

Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail put the policy into effect Monday.

The department began using GPS equipment to monitor and track the whereabouts of high-risk sex offenders late last year. About 75 different offenders have been outfitted with the equipment and Torrence is believed to be the fourth person to cut off the device.

“It’s got to be difficult to take off but we can’t make it impossible to take it off,” said department spokesman Chad Lewis. A medical or other type of emergency could arise in which the equipment needs to be quickly removed, he explained.

Sabrina’s concern about the agency extends beyond not being told of Torrence’s escape.

She also was not told when state parole officers directed Torrence, who was homeless, to sleep below a bridge along 88th Street SW under U.S. 2 near Snohomish, less than five miles from her home.

She spoke with Steve Eckstrom, manager of the department’s Victim Services Program, Monday and again Wednesday. He apologized for the agency’s giving her the wrong information on where Torrence was to be released and that he registered as homeless, she said.

“They said there was a hole in the system,” Sabrina said, adding that the agency said their inaction was inexcusable and pledged to do better.

The new policy on notification is part of that effort, Lewis said.

“Fortunately these are few and far between,” he said. Next time it happens, if it does happen, someone will call the victim.”

Reporter Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623 or

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