Mother of violent sex offender terrified he’d come after her when he escaped custody

OTTAWA, Kan. -- A violent sex offender walked off from his work release site, and his own mother was terrified he would come after her.

But after two weeks, Jason Michael Hale is back behind bars. Early Friday morning, Ottawa police arrested him. According to authorities, Hale left his work release placement in Edgerton on Oct. 21.

In 2009, Hale was sentenced to 66 months in prison for aggravated indecent liberties with a child less than 14. The crime happened in 2006 in Shawnee County. He completed his sentence last January.

Since then, Hale was in a sexual predator transition program at the Osawatomie State Hospital's MiCo House. Miami County Sheriff Frank Kelly said work placement is one of the program's steps.

On Friday, Hale's estranged mother saw his mugshot on FOX4's morning show. She feared he would come after her and her grandchildren.

Jason Hale

"It just scared me," Sherry Seever said. "My heart sunk, and I just went into panic mode."

At one point, Hale lived in Atchison with Seever, his biological mother. Seever placed her son up for adoption in 1980.  She always wanted to reconnect and finally did around 2006. By that time, his name was Jason Michael Hale.

"He moved down this side and lived with me for a little while," she said.

Seever said Hale lived with her, another son, husband and young grand kids for about a year in Atchiston.

"He was always mild, quiet, calm, nice," Seever said. "He put a wool over people's eyes on how he was."

But Seever started noticing her son's bad behavior.

"Things started missing," Seever said. "He stole from us, stole from the kid`s piggies banks, stole bill money from us, stole checks from his girlfriend's mom."

After about a year of living together, Hale told his mother he was leaving town because he couldn't find work. That was the last she heard from him.

Seever said she knew her son had a habit of stealing, but she never imagined he would become a sex offender.

"Nobody wants to hear that their child has done something like that," Seever said.

She searched his name online and discovered her was sentenced for a 2006 sex crime with a child under 14.

"It feels like I failed him,"Seever said. "It feels as though I put him in a place he shouldn't have been. I failed him as a mother. I realize that some people say no, you didn't. But that doesn't change the way I feel."

Then she saw her son's face on FOX4 Friday morning as a fugitive.

"I was scared to death he would come here and hurt me or my grandson," Seever said. "Or hold us hostage and wait for the other grand kids to get home. I didn't know what he was going to do."

Hale grabbed someone else's attention, too. Police said while searching for Hale he was spotted in Ottawa, Gardner and Paola. At some point he bought a bike, camping supplies and a "Jason mask."

Now that Hale is back behind bars, it's left many wondering: How did a violent sex offender get away in the first place?

"How was he able to walk off? Don`t they monitor them better? That's crazy," Seever said. "He shouldn't have been able to walk away, especially with the list of crimes he has."

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services couldn't comment on the hospital's sex offenders program or tell FOX4 how offenders are monitored.

Regardless, Seever never wants to feel the fear she did while her son was on the loose again.

"I would like to see a change in how people are in work releases are monitored," Seever said. "Because obviously they`re not monitored very well."