SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - When Phil Archuleta disappeared last year he was immediately put on the Department of Corrections Most Wanted list. Three months later, authorities are looking for help finding the parole violator and others who bolted before finishing their sentence.
Steven Gehrke, with the Utah Department of Corrections, can tell you all you need to know about Archuleta - except where he is. "He has a tattoo on his chest of a heart and a sword. He has a tattoo on his upper arm of a rose." Right now corrections officers are trying to find the 51-year-old who raped a 22-year-old mentally handicapped woman nearly 20 years ago. I asked Gehrke Why the focus on Archuleta? He says, "With him the concern is simply the nature of his crime originally. It was so heinous. First of all, it was a sex offense and also it was against a person who was vulnerable."
So, who is looking for the parole violator? Gehrke's answer, "We have our own law enforcement bureau. Our investigators are out there looking for him obviously and following leads they can get. Sometimes there are multiple agencies involved, like the federal marshals, depending on the nature of the crime and how many jurisdictions are involved." And the nature of Archuleta's crime is quite serious. He served 15 years for the rape conviction, but then during his probation period he simply vanished.
Authorities have a detailed description of Archuleta and other parole fugitives on the the Department of Corrections most wanted web site. They hope people will visit the site - then help them find Archuletta and the others. Gehrke says, "The tips are a great help with this type of thing when the public can see him and might recognize him or even know him from around the corner something like that." However, Gehrke says that request - comes with a warning. "You really want to be careful. You don't want to necessarily approach them and take it upon yourself. Contact authorities, contact the department of corrections."
To see the parole fugitives visit: http://corrections.utah.gov/services/most_wanted.html