Utah deputies arrest fugitive sex offender who escaped mental institution and hid in national parks

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Utah deputies have arrested a dangerous fugitive and sex offender in Wayne County – after the U.S. Marshals warned he may have been drifting from campground to campground in a handful of Western states, according to local reports.

John Freeman Colt, 42, escaped from a Kansas mental facility, where he was part of a sexual predator treatment program earlier this year.

The FBI considered Colt as “sexually violent” and dangerous and he was involuntarily committed to the mental institution after serving a five-year prison term for sex crimes, burglary and attacking police.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A dangerous sex offender who escaped from a state mental hospital in Kansas has been captured in Utah after being on the run since June, according to a law enforcement official. John Freeman Colt escaped from Larned State Hospital in June by obtaining a replica of a staff ID badge and uniform. He then shaved his long hair and beard, hid blankets under the covers to make it appear he was sleeping, and then convinced a new employee he was a doctor to make his way out.

He escaped from the Larned State Hospital after donning a staff uniform and fake ID badge and successfully talking his way through a series of five secured doors, according to FOX 13 Utah.

The Marshals said his last known whereabouts were in Scott City on June 30 and he was believed to have been camping out at state and national parks in Utah, Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, South Dakota and Texas.

It was not immediately clear whether his path through Utah intersected with two other high-profile incidents linked to parks in the state – the double murder of Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner and the Gabby Petito case.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A dangerous sex offender who escaped from a state mental hospital in Kansas has been captured in Utah after being on the run since June, according to a law enforcement official. John Freeman Colt escaped from Larned State Hospital in June by obtaining a replica of a staff ID badge and uniform. He then shaved his long hair and beard, hid blankets under the covers to make it appear he was sleeping, and then convinced a new employee he was a doctor to make his way out.

Schulte and Turner were found shot to death and partially disrobed near their campsite outside Moab, Utah, on Aug. 18. The couple had last been seen alive leaving Woody’s Tavern on Aug. 13.

The couple had told friends earlier that a suspicious man was creeping them out near their campsite and that they wanted to move.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A dangerous sex offender who escaped from a state mental hospital in Kansas has been captured in Utah after being on the run since June, according to a law enforcement official. John Freeman Colt escaped from Larned State Hospital in June by obtaining a replica of a staff ID badge and uniform. He then shaved his long hair and beard, hid blankets under the covers to make it appear he was sleeping, and then convinced a new employee he was a doctor to make his way out.

“We don’t think they got a chance to,” said Cindy Sue Hunter, a local business owner who was first to discover Schulte’s body off the trail. “We think they were ambushed.”

The double slayings shocked the small community, which has a population of just over 5,000 but sees a huge number of visitors passing through.

Authorities did not immediately respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.

Local businesses and anonymous donors are offering a $20,000 reward for information that could crack the case, the sheriff’s office said. Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at 435-259-8115.

The area sees numerous visitors, but few crimes, according to locals. Rental cars and hotel rooms were hard to find this week, and cross-country travelers and vans, RVs and other vehicles are seemingly everywhere.

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