Last year, Caulk vanished after taking advantage of a passive GPS system -- a device we'll explain below. He was subsequently recaptured and jailed, then released -- and fitted with the same gadget he'd foiled before. Predictably, he's on the loose again, and he has been for months. Continue for the crazy details, complete with photos and videos.
As we've reported, Caulk made headlines nationwide in 2007, when he was involved in a "consensual" relationship with a sixteen-year-old Lakewood girl.
The name of the young woman in question -- Amber Westbrook -- earned lots of publicity at the time because she was considered a runaway rather than a victim of a crime. Indeed, Lakewood Police spokesman Steve Davis told ABC News during a period when Caulk was the focus of reports on numerous national news outlets, not to mention America's Most Wanted, that law enforcers had "absolutely no indication of any criminal behavior.... We don't have a crime here."
So why was so much energy expended to find Caulk both here and across the country? As 7News reported at the time, Caulk had been convicted of sexual misconduct with a child in Pierce County, Washington, back in 2002. That bust required him to register as a sex offender, but doing so apparently slipped his mind. Five years later, two warrants for failing to register were active in his name -- one in Yellowstone County, Montana, and the other in Lakewood, where, according to the now-offline AMW website, Caulk and Westbrook met at a community pool. Shortly thereafter, the site goes on, "they started a relationship."
And then they vanished. Amber's stepmother dropped her off at CEC Middle College of Denver on September 25, 2007, but she didn't return home. She and Caulk were spotted in Morrison the next day, but then, they were gone.
Fortunately, they didn't go far. During the first week of October, they were found at a home in Morrison, at City View and Turkey Creek Road. Amber was reunited with her family, and Caulk was taken into custody, to begin another trek through the criminal justice system. The U.S. Marshals Service says he was sentenced in May 2010 to 45 months of federal prison for failing to register as a sex offender.
After being freed, Caulk was ordered by a U.S. District judge to serve an additional eight years on supervised release, with his first assignment being a Denver halfway house.
Instead, Caulk split, prompting a February 2013 alert from the Marshals Service. Days later, he was recaptured at a residence on the 3800 block of South Ventura Street in Aurora. But debate erupted afterward when it was learned Caulk had been wearing a "passive" ankle monitor that only sends data when it's docked in a GPS unit, as opposed to real-time locating. In contrast, Denver uses the latter type of GPS monitoring for most clients considered high risk, including sex offenders.
Why wasn't Caulk, a demonstrated flight threat with a dangerous history, fitted with a similar device?
Last year, Joe Starman, director of the halfway house to which Caulk had been assigned, issued the following explanation for why a passive GPS system had been employed for Caulk:
Independence House operates a GPS tracking system on sex offender residents that are judicially placed in our program. We currently have a GPS tracking system that enables us to passively monitor client movement and gives us active alerts should a client tamper or cut off the unit. This provides us an additional level of accountability on the resident. In addition, we actively monitor client accountability via client sign-in/sign out logs, telephone check-in calls, telephonic verifications, on-sites and facility house-counts.
Clients who fall under this classification are mandated to register with the Denver Police Department within 5 days of arriving to the program. Clients are also required to re-register annually on their birth date, every 90 days if convicted of an offense that requires this or has a change of address. Clients are authorized to sign-out of the facility if approved for a specific activity (ie...work, treatment, legal, medical etc.) with pre-authorized travel-time allotted and given a stipulated time to return to the program.
Should a client fail to return to the program at the mandated time, the program will contact the jurisdiction having authority over the offender. Clients are placed on safety plans and must have approval from the supervising officer and the treatment provider to attend specific locations or employment while in the program.
This rationale aside, most observers would probably have assumed that Caulk's days of wearing a passive GPS device were over. But most observers would be wrong.
This past October, according to 7News, Caulk was sentenced to federal prison for his most recent transgressions. But he was released mere months later, in January, at which time he was fitted with -- you guessed it -- a passive GPS monitor.
Shockingly enough, Caulk promptly took a powder, and his whereabouts remain unknown at this writing.
Below, check out the latest 7News report about Caulk's disappearance. Then, on the next page, see more Caulk photos, including several featuring his assorted tattoos, that were issued by the Marshals Service when he was at large last year, supplemented by another video.
If you have any information about Caulk's whereabouts, you're encouraged to contact the U.S. Marshals Service at 1-877-WANTED2 (1-877-926-8332) or Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867). Here's a 7News report from last year:
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More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa February 2013: "Matthew Caulk, sex offender, recaptured -- but why was he wearing passive GPS device?"