UPDATED 2-10-16 @4:15 pm: Joseph Townsend was apprehended in Bullhead City, Arizona, around 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, by U.S. Marshals and CDCR’s Office of Correctional Safety, according to California State Adult Parole Operations Supervisor Larry Dorsey. No further details were immediately available.
LANCASTER – A paroled sex offender cut off his ankle monitor and disappeared Friday morning after local parole agents found child pornography on his cell phone, authorities said.
Joseph Townsend, 34, was last seen Friday, Feb. 5, near 140th Street East and Avenue Q in Lake Los Angeles, according to California State Adult Parole Operations Supervisor Larry Dorsey.
Earlier that morning, Townsend’s parole agent conducted a routine home visit at Townsend’s trailer on the 39000 block of 145th Street East, Dorsey said.
“During the course of the home visit, [the agent] received information that the parolee had child porn on his phone,” Dorsey said.
The agent seized the phone and left the location. Once the agent confirmed that child pornography was on the phone, the agent went to the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station to initiate the paperwork to take Townsend into custody, according to Dorsey.
During that time, Townsend cut off his GPS ankle monitor and vanished, Dorsey said.
After receiving a “master tamper” alert, authorities tried locating Townsend in the Lake Los Angeles area but were unable to find him.
“We do consider this individual to be dangerous, especially around kids, and we just want the public to be aware,” Dorsey said. “Not only did he have child porn, he also had videos and still photographs of underage children, which is very concerning. He also uses the mobile app Kik.”
Townsend was paroled in June of 2015 after serving time for possession of child pornography involving a person under 18, according to Dorsey. He has a prior conviction for lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 by force or fear, according to the Megan’s Law website.
Townsend is believed to be in the Antelope Valley, but he may be trying to leave the state, Dorsey said.
Anyone with information on the location of Joseph Townsend is encouraged to contact the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station at 661-948-8466, the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station at 661-272-2400 or the Antelope Valley Parole Office at 661-729-0530 ext. 225.