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Tracking down the sex offenders who are hiding

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Updated: 6/26/2013 6:47 pm
JACKSONVILLE Fla. -- There are more than two dozen sex offenders like Donald Smith missing right now in Duval County -- 26, to be exact.

Two more sex offenders are also missing in St. Johns County.

"We need to stop these people," said parent Bruce Conway.

His daughter, Jolee, was Cherish's best friend.  Cherish is the 8-year-old girl kidnapped and killed last weekend.  Sex offender Donald J. Smith is facing chargers in her killing.

"My daughter comes up to me at 2 a.m. and said, 'Daddy, can I sleep here?' and I said, 'What's wrong, sweetie?' and she's crying and she says, 'I miss Cherish,'" Conway said.

He said he can't bear to watch more children hurt, and he wants a change in how sexual offenders are tracked.

"These guys have to have ankle straps or chips so they can be tracked constantly to know where they are so the police know," he said.

Conway has already contacted lawmakers to start tracking programs and Cherish's memory.

"I contacted Senator [Bill] Nelson, I contacted State Rep. Brown, I contacted [President Barack) Obama's office.  The governor is the next one to be contacted," he said.

Conway said he won't rest until he gets protection for children like Cherish from the offenders hidden right in our community.

"I know it's going to cost money, but the thing is if we save one life, look at the cost," he said.

[Related coverage: Remembering Cherish]

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

sk8trade - 6/28/2013 12:34 PM
0 Votes
because florida is putting every tom mark and harry on their evil registry..and yes it is a business, they could care less about cherish...i cannot go to chicago where i have a new job waiting on me!

sk8trade - 6/28/2013 12:31 PM
0 Votes
the lynch mob is already about sick of these laws. Ive had my house up for sale for 3 months. Ive had exactly 2 inquiries. I live in a upper middle class neighborhood. The reason: a sex offender next door. Does anyone care about that? Or do they say screw it.."if it saves just one life". If the dude is dangerous, dont let him the hell out of jail!!

nativejax - 6/27/2013 11:15 PM
0 Votes
Well then we need to change THAT law too.

Rudy101 - 6/27/2013 3:01 PM
1 Vote
It doesn't occur to anyone, there are only two solutions. One is to repeal DUE PROCESS. Take it all out of the court's hands, and put people into jail based upon whatever criteria everyone agrees on. OR, you can follow the laws, and individually determine who is dangerous and who is now and then put appropriate restrictions upon a person that will make the community safer. Making more desperate outcasts (of which many want to do) will only lead to more dead children (as has been proven). There IS a RIGHT to flee the sex offender registry. That RIGHT is found in the OUTCOMES of the sex offender registry (loss of safety and/or security) AND that there is no regulatory effect of the registry with unlimited public notification (no public safety). The registry or registry laws are applied without hearing, and ex-post facto. These things I state are clearly true and cannot be denied and therefore, the registry becomes illegal as a matter of law. I refuse to register, and no one can make me.

nativejax - 6/27/2013 12:33 PM
0 Votes
'Missing like Donald Smith'? Pedophyles, predators and perverts are NEVER 'missing'...They are our neighbors, teachers, dads, step dads, uncles, brothers, half brothers,judges and the list goes on and on. THEY ARE NOT BEING CHARGED AND IDENTIFIED ENOUGH SO WE, AS MOTHERS CAN KNOW NOT TO TRUST THEM. This mom took her eyes off her child, she dropped the ball REGARDLESS of who she 'trusted'. She will literally 'eat her heart' out for the rest of her life for not watching her child MORE CLOSELY. She trusted a PROFESSION CON ARTIST that knew EXACTLY how to MAKE HER AND HER KIDS TRUST HIM. He played on her 'poverty and need. The ONLY GOAL of a pervert is to GAIN TRUST so he can get a child. Decent men have been using TRUST forever to get/marry and/or use a WOMAN....pervs use it to get a child. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE? Millions of good decent women/mothers out here would like to know? ARE YOU TELLING ME, "TO TRUST SOMEONE" IS WORSE THAN THE LAW CHARGING THESE PERVS AND KEEPING THEM IN PRISON OR PUTTING SOME KIND OF PERMANENT ID OR MARK ON THEM SO WE KNOW WHO THEY ARE WITHOUT A DOUBT????????? 'Compliance' my ass, he should not have been free or had a bulls eye tattooed right between his eyes so this mother may still have her child. TRUST should not be a reason to bury innocent children and people, because today's world is FULL of GOD LESS people who use it everyday to get what they want. FIX THE LAWS TO KEEP THE WEAKEST AND SMALLEST SAFE. QUIT BLAMING GOOD PEOPLE AND SACRIFICING OUR CHILDREN BECAUSE WE ARE OBLIVIOUS TO ALL THE 'CON ARTISTS CRIMINALS' OF THE WORLD.

ShellyStow - 6/27/2013 10:39 AM
0 Votes
"More than two dozen like Donald Smith missing right now..." At best, it is a poorly constructed sentence. Missing like Donald Smith? No, he wasn't missing. He was fully in compliance. Dangerous like Donald Smith? The state of Florida has said that those who are a high risk equivalent to Donald Smith's make up no more than 1% of the total population of registered sex offenders. If there are 24 plus in one county, you need to officially notify the authorities.
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