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Federal investigators offering reward for escaped sex offender

By Olivia Wilmsen, Multimedia Journalist, olivia.wilmsen@krdo.com
Published On: Feb 23 2014 06:37:42 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 23 2014 07:03:50 PM CST

A registered sex offender escaped from a Denver halway house. A martial arts is offering reality life skills for kids and adults to stay safe.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Federal investigators are offering a reward for convicted child rapist, Eric Hartwell. Denver police say he escaped from a halfway house and cut off his tracking bracelet.

Eric Eugene Hartwell, 51, was convicted of raping a child in 1991 and attempted indecent liberties in 1996. According to KRDO NewsChannel 13’s Denver affiliate KMGH, the state sex offender registry shows he is registered in Denver at 2765 S. Federal Blvd., unit 307.

That address corresponds to an Independence House location where offenders live.

According to a 2010 Department of Justice press release, Hartwell cut off his GPS ankle bracelet and escaped from authorities in Washington State during March of 2009. He was recaptured by U.S. Marshals more than a week later in Texas.

One week prior to that 2009 escape, Hartwell had been released onto community supervision after serving time for failing to register as a sex offender.

Denver police spokeswoman Raquel Lopez could not confirm if Hartwell has again removed his tracking bracelet, but police radio recordings on RadioReference.com do include that as part of a Be On The Lookout alert for Hartwell.

That recording also describes him as being last seen wearing a quilted, puffy coat. Underneath he had on a t-shirt and blue jeans.

In Colorado Springs, Calvary Family Martial Arts and Fitness owner Isaac Costley teaches children and adults how to handle any kind of dangerous situation.

"Far too often, people come to me. They're coming to me after something has happened,” said Costley. “We have to have a plan.”

If a stranger approaches your child and tries to grab your child,Costley says your child should grab onto the stranger’s legs and hold night. Since the child is holding on, the cannot physically pull him up and carry him. Then, your child should yell, 'Fire! Fire! Fire'! That way everyone around him can hear him and come for help.

Hartwell isn't the only sex offender Colorado officers are looking for and he certainly won't be the last.

"There's always a threat that's here. Let's prepare our children and our parents so that we are able to address that threat, and so we can go home safely,” said Costley.

Costley's martial arts business will be going to schools in Southern Colorado starting March 8 to teach kids those reality life skills. Parents can participate on the weekend and it's all for free. Click here or call (719) 237-0043 for details.

Federal investigators are offering a reward leading to Hartwell's capture.  If you have any information, call their tipline: 877-WANTED2.

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