AUDIT: Over 1,200 registered sex offenders in Missouri with unknown whereabouts

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) -- "I find this disturbing and alarming," said Missouri's Democratic State Auditor, Nicole Galloway.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) announces state doesn't know whereabouts of over 1,200 registered sex offenders. 10/1/2018

Under state law, convicted sex offenders are required to register their names and addresses with local county sheriff's offices.

The most dangerous offenders who fall under the "Tier III" category, those convicted of rape, sodomy, or child molestation, have to register every 90 days for the rest of their lives.

But, Galloway's office finds the state doesn't know where 800 of those offenders are.

"There has not been an effort made to hold them accountable for once again violating the law," Galloway added.

Jackson County, which surrounds Kansas City, and the City of St. Louis have the highest number of unknown sex offender locations in the state - combining for almost 700. But, nine southwest Missouri counties can't find 80 registered sex offenders.

In Greene County, at least half of the 20 non-compliant sex offenders are considered to be the most dangerous.

Galloway says, as a parent, this is unsettling.

"If law enforcement don't know where registered sex offenders are located, how is the public supposed to know? How am I supposed to know as a mother? Because, obviously, the safety and the security of my children are foremost for me," Galloway said. "This is just too important to be swept under the rug. Action needs to be taken."

Missouri isn't the only state that doesn't know where some of it's sex offenders are located. In August, Wisconsin announced they didn't know the location of over 2,700 offenders, and a 2017 audit in Massachusetts shows they couldn't locate nearly 1,800.

The report also shows 91% of the offenders with unknown locations in Missouri do not have a warrant out for their arrest for not following registry requirements.

Galloway hopes this report brings more warrants, so other agencies know they can detain an offender who is not properly reporting.

"We have seen a lot of change as a result of the audit reports that we release, and I expect this to be no different. I hope that this is a jumping off point and a spring board to take the sex offender registry seriously, and that law enforcement officials do pursue warrants when it is needed," Galloway added.

Although Galloway knows resources are limited, she recommends the state highway patrol help improve procedures for maintaining the sex offender registry database, and help local police enforce registration requirements.

You can read more of the recommendations made by Auditor Galloway in her full report, which can be found in the related documents section of this article.