Fugitive sex offender who fled Utah and lived out in the open under an alias is arrested in Hawaii while eating at a McDonald’s
A former Utah corrections officer who went on the lam 11 years ago after being convicted of handcuffing a woman and forcing her to perform sex acts has been captured in Hawaii – where he was arrested while dining at a McDonald’s.
The United States Marshals Service announced on Tuesday that William Lawrence was arrested Monday at a fast-food restaurant on the island of Kauai.
Marshals say Lawrence was an officer for the Utah Department of Corrections when he handcuffed a girl to a bed and forced her to perform sex acts.
He was convicted of forcible sexual abuse and forcible sodomy.
Before his sentencing hearing, he fled and has been considered a fugitive since 2006.
Marshals say they discovered he was living in Hawaii while reviewing cold cases last month.
This undated photo on the left provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows William Lawrence, a former Utah corrections officer who went on the lam 11 years ago after being convicted of sexual abuse. Lawrence is seen right in a 2003 file photo
The United States Marshals Service announced on Tuesday that Lawrence was arrested Monday at a McDonald’s on the island of Kauai
Marshals say Lawrence was an officer for the Utah Department of Corrections when he handcuffed a girl to a bed and forced her to perform sex acts
Supervisory Deputy US Marshal Derryl Spencer says that as a former law enforcement officer, Lawrence knew strategies to evade capture.
‘We believe he was working construction. Had a pretty stable life. He’s got a teenage daughter that lives there with him and a new girlfriend,’ Spencer told Fox 13 KSTU-TV.
When he was arrested, Lawrence had been living for years under the alias John Phillips.
In 2006, Utah police said Lawrence took a woman to his apartment in West Jordan and handcuffed her to his bed.
Before his sentencing hearing, he fled and has been considered a fugitive since 2006. Marshals say they discovered he was living in Hawaii while reviewing cold cases last month
When he was arrested, Lawrence had been living for years under the alias John Phillips
Sargent C.J. Holt with the West Jordan Police Department said Lawrence handcuffed a woman to his bed at his apartment on Redwood Road in West Jordan.
‘She was an adult at the time. She was a few years younger than him,’ said Sargent CJ Holt of the West Jordan Police Department.
Authorities say Lawrence showed the woman his badge and threatened to arrest her if she refused to perform sex acts.
‘He definitely used his police training. He definitely used his background in law enforcement and influenced that in the assault,’ said Holt.
After his arrest, Lawrence pleaded guilty in court, but fled to Hawaii before sentencing.
‘He was facing at least two felonies for sexual assault, so it’s very likely he was facing some prison time and probably significant prison time,’ said Holt.
In 2010, the US Marshals Service, a federal law enforcement agency mainly responsible for tracking down fugitives, took over the investigation.
The agency said that once it figured out Lawrence’s alias, it was easy to find him.
‘Once we discovered that fake name it was honestly pretty easy to track him down because this alias he’s living under is not really hiding,’ said Spencer.
US Marshals arrested Lawrence after they spotted him eating lunch at a local McDonald’s.
‘He didn’t even give us his alias at that point in time. He gave us another name with the same last name and he continued to insist it wasn’t him,’ said Spencer.
But law enforcement officials were able to match his tattoos from previous photos to confirm that he was indeed their man.
After he was booked into jail, Lawrence admitted that he was the one.
‘He was pretty beat down. I think you know a lot of these fugitives go on the run for a while. They live their life wondering if today’s the day,’ said Spencer.
Authorities in Utah are now working with their Hawaiian counterparts to arrange for Lawrence’s extradition to the mainland.
Lawrence remains in a Hawaii jail as of late Tuesday.