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POSTED: 6:17 pm EST January 20, 2005 UPDATED: 11:23 pm EST January 20, 2005
Authorities in Marion County, Fla., have recruited an alternative forest-dwelling religious group in the search for a missing 11-year-old boy and a convicted sex offender who allegedly kidnapped him, according to a Local 6 News report.
About 30 investigators combed a portion of the 320-acre Ocala National Forest Thursday checking campsites and other areas after police learned that Fredrick Fretz, 42, (pictured, bottom left) had taken the missing boy, Adam Kirkirt, 11, (pictured, right) camping in the area many times before the pair went missing.
"Just his (Fretz) background shows us he is a woodsman who likes to be in the woods," Marion County Sheriff's Office spokesman Chris Blair said. "He loves to camp."
During Thursday's investigation, agents learned that Fretz used to associate with the Rainbow family -- a religious group living in the forest.
The Rainbow family joined the search for Fretz Thursday afternoon.
"If we catch him we'll duct-tape him to a tree and he may be missing a few body parts," Rainbow family member Harris Pankin said. "We will keep him alive, maybe."
Local 6 News videotaped officers asking the Rainbow family not to harm Fretz if they spot him and Adam in the forest.
The 11-year-old boy was last seen Tuesday afternoon in Dunnellon, about 75 miles northwest of Orlando. An Amber Alert was issued early Wednesday morning.
Fretz, a known sex offender in Arizona and Pennsylvania, had been a roommate since December with Adam's father, who met Fretz in jail in September or October, the sheriff's office said.
"Fretz is a registered sex offender in Arizona and Pennsylvania," Marion County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Sue Livoti said. "He did not register in the state of Florida as required."
In 1998, Fretz was found guilty of sexually assaulting a different 11-year-old boy, Local 6 News reported.
Because Kirkirt did not know Fretz was a sex offender, he allowed the man to pick up his son from Dunnellon Elementary School Tuesday -- the last time he was seen, according to the report.
The Marion County Sheriff's Office released a new photo (pictured, right) of Fretz with a shaved head replacing an earlier photo that showed Fretz with hair.
Police are searching for a white 1993 Chevrolet Lumina with Florida temporary tag K930-950 taped on the left side of the back window.
Officers will continue the search for the missing pair Friday in the Ocala National Forest.
Pastor Delivers Message
Also Thursday, the pastor of the church where both the boy and the suspect attend issued a public plea.
"Fred, we just ask that you bring Adam back safely," The Rev. Karl Wiggens said. "If there is anything I can do for you, by all means, you should know this from the past that I'll do anything I can for you."
-------------------- "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." --Albert Einstein
Re: Forest Dwellers Recruited In Search For Missing Boy [Re: Amygdala] #3657836 - 01/21/05 11:22 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)