Cops twice missed ‘88 suspect in sex assault
Law enforcement was in contact at least twice with a 57-year-old former Mesa County man after a felony arrest warrant issued in 1988 on allegations he sexually assaulted a young girl.
On both occasions, David Joe White inexplicably avoided arrest.
Nobody in Mesa County had answers Friday as to why or how that happened.
Twenty-four years after White’s arrest warrant was issued, White’s apparent luck with law enforcement encounters ended at his home in Prescott Valley, Ariz., this past May.
White was ordered Friday by County Judge Bruce Raaum to be jailed on $8,000 bond, which was the same bond set in February 1988 when White’s warrant was issued.
Raaum said he left the 1988 bond unchanged because of White’s relative lack of criminal history since then. Should he post bond, White must sign a waiver of extradition.
Public defender Thea Reiff said White was issued a summons in 1989 for suspicion of possessing drug paraphernalia. Reiff did not specify where the ticket was issued, the issuing police agency or the disposition of the case.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s online arrest records system was unable Friday to complete requests for information on White’s criminal history.
Mesa County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said investigators learned White was contacted again by a law enforcement agency in a 2000 traffic stop. Benjamin said she didn’t know the agency involved, where it happened or the how the contact was resolved.
“For whatever reason, as best we can determine, his name was not run through NCIC,” said Benjamin, referring to the National Crime Information Center database, a system accessed routinely by officers when checking whether individuals have active arrest warrants.
The checks are standard procedure for police when contacting individuals.
Officers in Arizona apparently took that step May 16, when the Prescott Valley Police Department and Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department were called to a reported disturbance at White’s home at 3450 N. Date Creek in Prescott Valley.
The 24-year-old Mesa County warrant was confirmed when an officer ran his name, said Jodi Baumgartner, a records employee with Prescott Valley police.
Mesa County taxpayers footed the bill for White’s extradition, who was booked Thursday at Mesa County Jail. Benjamin said total costs associated with White’s extradition weren’t available Friday.
Addressing the judge during White’s first appearance, Reiff said White had been living at the Prescott Valley home where he was arrested for the past 15 years and had recently assumed payments for the property after his brother’s death. White, who is disabled, was obtaining title to the home at the time of his arrest, Reiff said.
“He’s not been in any sort of trouble whatsoever, and has a very stable life there,” she told Raaum.
White’s neighbors banded together after his arrest toward continuing house payments, while caring for White’s four dogs, she said.
According to an arrest affidavit, a 14-year-old girl reported to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department in 1987 that White molested her “five or six times” three years earlier.
The girl detailed one incident in which White allegedly grabbed her, kissed her breasts and tried to remove her pants when the two had been left alone at a home in Fruita.
“(Girl) stated that he had told her she better not tell anybody or he would kill the baby that her mom was carrying at that time,” the affidavit said.
The warrant lists one count of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, and a second count of attempted sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust.
The assaults allegedly happened between February 1984 and August 1984.