Search for escaped Kansas sex offender passes 2-month mark; what happens now?

Kansas News

A security camera photo of John Freeman Colt after his escape. (Courtesy Photo/Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office)

LARNED, Kan. — The search for a sex offender convicted in Topeka who escaped a Kansas hospital has passed the two-month mark.

John Freeman Colt in 2017 (Courtesy Photo/Kansas Bureau of Investigation)

Officials shared an update Friday on what’s next in the investigation.

After shaving his beard and changing his hair June 30, John Freeman Colt “disguised himself as hospital staff” with a fake ID badge to escape the Larned State Hospital in Pawnee County, according to the county attorney.

Colt is a lifetime registered sex offender, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s records, and has been on the run for more than two months since. The Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office said he was last seen walking north from a Kwik Shop in Larned that morning, and warned the public he should be considered dangerous.

To get an update on where investigators are at two months later as they try to find Colt, KSNT News reached out to the Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

The Pawnee County sheriff said he had no new updates in the search for Colt, and a spokesperson for KDADS, who supervises a Sexual Predator Treatment Program at the state hospital, declined to comment.

A spokesperson for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation gave more detail than the other two agencies:

“The US Marshal’s Service … have taken the lead in the search for Colt. We are assisting as needed. I’m sure all possibilities for his whereabouts will be considered.”

Kansas Bureau of Investigation

The Pawnee County Attorney said in July that during the handling of Colt’s escape, there was a “5 1/2 hour delay between Colt leaving the facility and law enforcement first being notified.” The neighboring Barton County sheriff took that comment a step further and criticized the handling of the situation, saying it “placed the citizens of Kansas at risk.”

Court records say a Shawnee County judge convicted Colt of aggravated sexual battery and aggravated burglary in 2001 against a woman of unspecified age in Topeka.

A Kansas Department of Corrections spokesperson said he finished serving a sentence with them Feb. 16, 2016, and then moved to live at the Larned State Hospital and participate in its Sexual Predator Treatment Program.

Colt is described as:

  • 5-foot-6-inches tall
  • 200 pounds
  • Having blue eyes and short brown hair
  • Having a tattoo on his left arm of a heart with the letters “BH”

Colt was last seen wearing a gray, long-sleeved shirt, black pants and a dark face mask. The Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office previously said Colt may have an ID badge that says “C Jones,” and he may have a cell phone. Anyone who knows where Colt is should call 911.

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