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Permian impostor: Homeless in Odessa? - Odessa American: News

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2010 NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT Permian impostor: Homeless in Odessa?

Montimere, a registered sex offender, whereabouts unknown

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Terlingua Avenue and Snyder Street Odessa TX

Posted: Wednesday, February 4, 2015 8:27 pm

The Permian High basketball impostor, who became national news in 2010, spent the last two months as a transient living at the end of Terlingua Avenue and Snyder Street in Odessa.

Guerdwich Montimere, a registered sex offender, got on a bus Wednesday and went to live with family in Austin, an Odessa Police Department detective said. However, it was never confirmed that he left Odessa on a bus.

Montimere, who Permian boys’ basketball fans know better as Jerry Joseph, fooled the community into thinking he was a 15-year-old Haitian orphan. He enrolled in 2009 at Nimitz Junior High and played basketball the following year at Permian High before being discovered as a 22-year-old man who had graduated from Fort Lauderdale’s Dillard High School several years earlier.

He was found out after going to an out-of-town, offseason basketball tournament and being seen by former teammates. Former coaches and teammates contacted both Permian High School and the Odessa American to report he was not who he claimed to be.

Law enforcement and Ector County ISD officials investigated, and at one point his immigration status was questioned by federal authorities. Some friends in Odessa defended him, even after discovering that he had another set of identification documents outing him as Montimere.

He was initially charged with tampering with government records in connection with the admission documents he submitted to ECISD, but eventually was also found guilty of having sex with a 15-year-old girl, who believed him to be 16-year-old Jerry Joseph.

Montimere pleaded guilty July 27, 2011, to two counts of sexual assault of a child and three counts of tampering with government records. He was sentenced to three years in prison, but served two before being released and moving to Kyle.

Part of Montimere’s conviction stipulated he had to register as a sex offender for life.

The sex offender registry is a database kept by the Texas Department of Public Safety, and offenders are registered by local law enforcement, including the Odessa Police Department, for those within city limits.

Montimere was reportedly living for the last two months in the open at the dead end of Snyder Street and Terlingua Avenue, according to the DPS sex offender registry.

No one was at the dead end Tuesday morning or Wednesday afternoon, but a man living near that location said he’d seen Montimere before.

The man said he would see Montimere walk by every day with a bag slung over his shoulder, but as of Monday it had been a while since he saw Montimere.

Odessa Police Detective Dayton Neff is in charge of keeping tabs on registered sex offenders in Odessa. When contacted by the OA about Montimere’s whereabouts, Neff said Montimere had a secondary address where he would live when it was cold outside. Neff said he wanted to investigate to make sure Montimere hadn’t run away before Neff released the secondary address.

Initially, Neff said he would give out the address after checking on Montimere.

But when called the next day about the address, Neff said Montimere wouldn’t be living in Odessa anymore. Neff said he visited the secondary address, at the Arbor Oaks Apartments, Tuesday evening, found Montimere and had a discussion with him.

“I had a heart-to-heart with him (Tuesday) night,” Neff said. “I said if you’re going place to place, that’s going to mess with you.”

Neff said Montimere mentioned he had family near Austin and that he could move there. He also said Montimere had a job in the oilfield at one point.

When contacted again Wednesday, Neff said giving out the current address wouldn’t make a difference, because Montimere had already gotten on a bus to Austin.

The earliest bus out of Odessa on the way to Austin was scheduled to depart at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, and Montimere was nowhere to be found at the Greyhound bus station in Odessa. He also was not on the 7:25 p.m. bus.

The secondary address was made public Wednesday afternoon, but Montimere was not there. The apartments, 1000 E. Monahans St., border his reported transient address.

OPD Chief Tim Burton said he couldn’t comment on any conversations Neff had with Montimere, but that he would instruct supervisors to determine whether the detective had any motivations in dealing with Montimere.

“I have no idea what Det. Neff was doing, or has been investigating, or anything else,” Burton said. “I don’t know what the nature of the conversation was.”

Texas law states sex offenders must register with local law enforcement where they live regularly and what their occupation is, depending on the severity of the offense.

“The Texas Sex Offender Registration Program (Chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure) is a sex offender registration and public notification law designed to protect the public from sex offenders,” according to the DPS website.

The DPS website states that mailings informing the public about when a sex offender is in the area are only sent when a high-risk offender moves into a community.

Without the DPS website and local police help in identifying where sex offenders live, residents cannot know when a moderate-risk offender such as Montimere lives near them.

The information is always public despite the fact that Neff initially asked for a formal Open Records Act request.

Burton said Neff was mistaken when he did not give out the secondary address, and that anyone who wishes to obtain a sex offender’s primary or secondary address can call the OPD’s records clerks and get that information.

 “First and foremost, it’s the law that information be made available,” Burton said. “Secondly, the legislature has determined that that kind of information is important for people to know in the interest of public safety.”

Burton said he agrees that in the interest of public safety that information should be provided so people can have information about sex offenders when they make decisions in their lives.

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