'Sexually Violent Predator' still missing - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

'Sexually Violent Predator' still missing

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The urgent search for a missing sexual predator continued Thursday, weeks after he was released from prison.

Ernest Eugene Reigh was released from prison on March 1, but has not been seen since.

He was required by law to register his address and check in with his probation office within 48 hours, but he never did.

The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office believes he may be heading to Pennsylvania, but out of caution, deputies are warning people to keep an eye out for him following reports of possible sightings in the area.

That included one possible sighting Thursday in Martin County at Indian Riverside Park, which turned out to be a false alarm.

Reigh was convicted of sexually abusing a girl younger than 12-years-old for at least three years.

Thursday, that woman opened up about her frustrations with how the Florida Department of Corrections handled the release. He was dropped off at a bus stop in Fort Pierce.

“I live ten minutes away from where he was dropped off,” she said. WPTV is not releasing her identity.

The woman says she was notified before his release.

“Are you worried he would try to make contact with you again?” WPTV asked. “Yes, Absolutely. I have been since the minute he went to jail,” she said.

He served 22-years in prison.

“Just because the crime is 22-years-old doesn’t the pain or the suffering or anything that he did went away with it because he served his time.” 

Now, she has no idea where he is, or if he has intentions of trying to contact her or her family.

“I was in fear. Well, my fear has been proven because here he is now, out, absconded. He didn’t do what was expected of him.”

The woman sexually abused by Reigh says the Florida Department of Corrections should have done a better job keeping track of him after his release, especially given his conviction.

“At least they could have been responsible and put a monitor on him. You have other people who commit way lesser crimes have monitors put on them.”

The Florida Department of Corrections said in a statement:

It is standard practice for Department staff to give released inmates transportation to a departure destination. After this, it’s the responsibility of the offender to report to the correct probation office per the terms of his supervision.

This offender’s prison sentence has expired, and he is no longer under state supervision. As such the Department has no further jurisdiction over this individual. Sex offender registration is enforced by the local county sheriff’s office after the offender’s release.

“All he had to do was go register and check in with probation. That’s all you had to do… Instead you have everybody looking over their shoulders wondering where you are,” the woman said.

Until he’s found, she’s watching her back. Her mother is also worried about where Reigh might be.

“When you walk in the door, you lock the door behind you. I close the blinds as soon as I get home,” said the woman’s mother.

They're hopeful he will be found and arrested quickly.

“I hope he goes back [to prison]… for the rest of his life, because he obviously has not learned his lesson,” said the woman.

Reigh also served 15 years for federal weapons charges. The woman sexually assaulted by Reigh says he tried to sell an unregistered weapon in order to get money to flee from arrest for the sex crimes he was accused of.

Investigators released the following information about Reigh. Contact Local Law Enforcement or 911 if you see him.

Ernest Eugene Reigh

Date of Birth: 9/5/1951

Race: W

Hair: Bald

Eyes: Blue

Height: 5’6-5’7

Weight: 153-165

Scripps Only Content 2017

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