Adhahn had slipped away twice
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Pierce County Sheriff's Department said Thursday it had two different opportunities to arrest Terapon Adhahn long before he was charged with the slaying of a Tacoma girl last month but each time failed to follow through.
On May 25, 2005, a sheriff's deputy, conducting a routine check of registered sex offenders, went to Adhahn's Spanaway home and found that he no longer resided there. Adhahn, a Level 1 sex offender, was required to register his address with police after a 1990 incest conviction.
The deputy wrote an "absconded" report, indicating the offender had left his registered address. But rather than follow up and try to find Adhahn and arrest him, the Sheriff's Department dropped the matter because deputies believed Adhahn had only a few months remaining in his legal requirement to provide police with his address, said Ed Troyer, sheriff's spokesman.
Because Adhahn had been convicted in 1992 in Tacoma Municipal Court for intimidation with a deadly weapon, the time requiring him to continue registering had been extended to September 2007, say court documents.
Troyer didn't say why the Sheriff's Department wasn't aware the time had been extended.
Adhahn, 42, was charged last month with aggravated first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree rape in connection with the July 4 abduction and slaying of Zina Linnik, 12. He is facing numerous other chargers stemming from attacks on two other girls and is considered a person of interest in the December 2005 abduction and slaying of 10-year-old Adre'Anna Jackson, of Tillicum, Pierce County.
Thursday's revelation by the Sheriff's Department comes a day after it conceded deputies failed to follow up on a 2004 report that Adhahn was raping a girl who was living with him.
In January 2004, Child Protective Services forwarded to the Sheriff's Department a report from an informant who claimed Adhahn was raping the 15-year-old girl. Detectives went to the home, but Adhahn no longer lived there. They made no additional effort to find Adhahn, in part because the Sheriff's Department often receives unfounded third-party reports, often from angry ex-spouses, Troyer said.
Explaining why the department didn't try to find Adhahn in 2005 after he failed to register as a sex offender, Troyer said his office monitors about 2,800 sex offenders. Of those, there are currently 123 absconded sex offenders of all levels and only three detectives, two full-time and one half-time, who must visit each home annually to be sure the offenders are living where they have registered.
Level 1 sex offenders are considered the least likely to reoffend.
"There are holes in the system," Troyer said.
In Adhahn's case, the lack of follow-up was one more lucky break.
In 1990, he pleaded guilty to incest, a charge reduced from second-degree rape, after attacking a 16-year-old relative.
After his 1992 conviction for intimidation with a weapon conviction, Adhahn could have faced deportation proceedings because of his two criminal convictions. A native of Thailand, he was a legal U.S. resident but not a citizen, and the second conviction should have triggered a deportation hearing. But immigration officials say they didn't know about the 1992 intimidation conviction because they weren't notified by Pierce County prosecutors.
"If we're not notified, we won't be able to do anything about it," said Lorie Dankers, spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Nancy Bartley: 206-464-8522 or email@example.com
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