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Dangerous sex offender from Kansas on the run for 3 months is arrested in Utah

A man labeled by U.S. Marshals as a "dangerous sex offender" was arrested Monday night in southern Utah where he may have been camping since August.

A man labeled by U.S. Marshals as a "dangerous sex offender" was arrested Monday night in southern Utah where he may have been camping since August. (Shutterstock)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

TORREY, Wayne County — A "dangerous sex offender" who escaped from a state hospital in Kansas and had been on the run for three months has been arrested in Utah.

John Freeman Colt, 42, was arrested Monday night near Torrey following a high-speed chase with deputies from the Wayne and Sevier County Sheriffs' Offices.

Colt had been on the run since June 30, after he escaped from the Larned State Hospital's Sexual Predator Treatment Program in Kansas by posing as a doctor, according to the U.S. Marshals Service who called Colt a "dangerous sex offender."

He was originally sentenced in December of 2001 to five years in prison for his conviction on multiple charges including aggravated sexual battery and attempted rape.

"After his criminal sentence was completed, the state of Kansas courts deemed him a sexually violent predator at high risk to commit a future sex offense and too dangerous to be released. He was indefinitely civilly committed … in 2007, where he has resided until the escape," U.S. Marshals said in a prepared statement issued last week.

Investigators say Colt planned his escape for months. During that time, he managed to obtain a replica of a staff hospital identification badge and dress clothes, and then shaved off his beard and long hair on the morning of his escape, according to the statement.

"He put blankets under his bed covers making it appear he was still in bed sleeping. He was then able to convince a new staff worker — that he targeted — that he was in fact a new doctor and needed help finding his way out. Posing as a doctor, Colt was able to make his way past five secured doors and ultimately outside the gates," the Marshals stated.

Last week, U.S. Marshals announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Colt, and stated that he "may be traveling or camping in or around state or national parks throughout Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas or Utah."

After seeing news reports of Colt on Monday, a witness in Wayne County contacted the sheriff's office to report that a man who resembled Colt, who had been using the name "James Holt," had been camping in the Torrey area since early August, according to a prepared statement from Wayne County government officials.

Wayne County Sheriff Dan Jensen and three detectives from Sevier County checked out the campsite. The Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter was also called in to assist.

"As Sheriff Jensen and sheriff's deputies were staging a few miles from Colt's campsite, they saw Colt roll by on his blue motorcycle and gave chase, reaching speeds up to 100 mph for a couple of miles," according to the prepared statement.

One deputy was able to cut Colt off, bringing the chase to stop, and Colt was taken into custody. He was being held Tuesday in the Sevier County Jail pending extradition to Kansas.


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