Search continues for paroled rapist, kidnapper missing from halfway house

January 22, 2013 4:44:09 PM PST
A paroled kidnapper and rapist is on the loose after he walked out of a halfway house over the weekend.

John Michael Enard's photo is being circulated among law enforcement agencies and the public, but so far, there have been no confirmed sightings that would lead to his capture.

He went from parolee to being on the Texas 10 Most Wanted Sex Offender list. And there's money being offered for information that leads to his capture.

Enard spent the past 24 of his 58 years in a Texas prison. He sent there after he was convicted of aggravated robbery and sexual assault.

Enard was paroled in December then was sent to the Southeast Texas Transitional Facility, a halfway house for sex offenders on Old Beaumont Highway. But Enard wasn't scheduled to be released from there any time soon. The state filed what's called a civil commitment against him and that says Crime Stoppers speaks volumes.

"The reality of the civil commitment is that is when they decide that even though someone has been paroled, they are so dangerous that they must remain in custody," Houston Crime Stoppers Exec Director Katherine Cabaniss said.

Before Enard served a month at the halfway house, he removed his GPS ankle monitor and scaled the concertina wired fence and vanished. The facility is in an industrial area, where there is constant truck traffic.

Directly across the street is Melba's Country Cooking, and the owner Melba Barfield has seen her share of early checkouts from the transitional facility over the years.

"When I see them jump the fence, I call over there immediately and tell them I just saw somebody go over the fence," Barfield said.

Unlike a prison, there are no guard towers and the residents are not inmates, but often parolees being prepared to re-enter the free world.

Melba's hired some of the former guests and she says many of them made good employees, but the civil commitment cases, she avoids.

"Just the mere fact they are repeat offenders, I just can't take that chance," she said.

As for Enard, he's probably far from the halfway house by now. The Department of Public Safety is searching for him and he is considered dangerous.

"He clearly took that time to plot and plan his escape. He took off his ankle monitor on Saturday and fled without permission and he is a fugitive today," Cabaniss said.

The DPS is offering a $3,000 reward to the person who provides information that leads to Enard. You can go through Crime Stoppers anonymously to do that. If you see Enard, you are cautioned to call authorities and do not approach him yourself.

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