Escapee returned to county jail; sex offender who left work-release found with missing teenager

GREENFIELD — A Greenfield man who is a convicted sex offender could face criminal charges in Hamilton County after being named as a suspect in the alleged abduction of an Indiana teen.

Dustin Fisher, 20, of Greenfield, is back in the Hancock County Jail after his name and description were blasted across the state in an Amber Alert issued Monday for a missing teen from Sheridan.

Local law enforcement were already on the hunt for Fisher, who failed to return last week to Hancock County Community Corrections, a low-security facility that allows inmates to leave for work during the day; Fisher is currently serving a two-year sentence on work release on a battery conviction.

A warrant for Fisher’s arrest was issued around the same time the Sheridan Police Department were told Fisher — who also is a registered sex offender — was the last person seen with a 17-year-old who was reported missing by her family.

The pair was later found in Terre Haute and held overnight in Vigo County in police custody. Officials said it did not appear the girl was being held against her will, but the investigation is ongoing.

Fisher, whose current address is listed as the Hancock County Jail, has a lengthy criminal history in Hancock County, dating back to when he was a juvenile, officials said. Records show he’s faced a series of misdemeanors and low-level felonies since he became an adult.

In May 2014, he pleaded guilty to criminal confinement and was required to register as a sex offender for 10 years. He did not keep up with the required monitoring, investigators said, and in June 2015, he pleaded guilty to a charge of failure to register as a sex offender.

While serving a two-year sentence for failing to register, Fisher was charged and pleaded guilty to battery as a Level 6 felony. Earlier this year, he was sentenced to serve an additional two years with the county’s work-release program for the battery case, records show.

Inmates serving time on work release are required to submit a work schedule each week that denotes what time they will leave the Hancock County Community Corrections facility and what time they will return, director Pat Powers said.

On Friday, Fisher did not return to the facility after his time at work, Powers said. The next morning, investigators began looking for him, and an arrest warrant was issued Monday, he said.

At the same time, police in Sheridan, located northwest of Indianapolis in Hamilton County, were looking for a 17-year-old who went missing early Monday morning.

Officials with the Sheridan Police Department said the girl’s mother called 911 early Monday saying her daughter had been abducted or had run away from home. Fisher was reportedly the last person seen with the girl; and when it became clear he was a registered sex offender, Sheridan police and the Indiana State Police issued an Amber Alert around 8 p.m. when the teen had still not been located, officials said.

The alert named Fisher as a suspect, giving details about his appearance and a description of his vehicle, officials said. The pair were found a short while later in Terre Haute, more than 100 miles from the girl’s hometown, police said.

The girl was taken into custody and was being held in a juvenile detention center in Vigo County awaiting transport to a Hamilton County detention facility, officials said.

Fisher was held overnight in Vigo County and transported back to the Hancock County Tuesday morning, Powers said. Fisher was being held in the Hancock County Jail without bond at press time. He is expected to appear in Hancock County Superior Court on Thursday morning to face a charge of failure to return to lawful detention, records show.

The Sheridan Police Department’s investigation into Fisher’s relationship with the girl is still ongoing, officials said. Details were not released, and detectives had not determined if Fisher would face additional criminal charges related to the alleged abduction, Sheridan police said.

The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office will make a final determination of what, if any, charges will be filed, officer said.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.