U.S. Marshals up award for sex offender who escaped in Denver

Eric Hartwell mug

DPD tweeted on Feb. 22, 2014 they were searching for convicted sex offender Eric Hartwell. (Photo: Colo. Sex Offender Website)

DENVER — The U.S. Marshals Service has requested the public’s help in the search for a convicted child rapist and registered sex offender who escaped from a Denver halfway house Friday.

On Tuesday, the award for tips leading to the arrest of Hartwell was increased to $5,000, according to Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Kenneth Deal.

Saturday afternoon, the Denver Police Department tweeted that they are looking for Eric Hartwell, 51, who is is wanted on a nationwide felony warrant for parole violation sex assault.

Hartwell was arrested and convicted in Washington State of raping a child in 1991, said a release from the U.S. Marshals.

In 1995, after he served his sentence for first-degree rape of a child, Hartwell picked up a pregnant hitchhiker and threatened to rape her, said officials — at the time, he was still on a court-ordered probation.

Following this incident, Hartwell continued to commit sex crimes and repeatedly failed to register as a sex offender, said U.S. Marshals.

According to the state sex offender registry, he was registered in Denver at 2765 S. Federal Blvd., unit 307.

In police recordings on RadioReference.com, police issued a lookout for Hartwell and described the sex offender as a white male, 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and last seen wearing a black quilted puffy coat, blue t-shirt and blue jeans.

The recording also stated that Hartwell cut off his GPS tracking bracelet, and escaped from Independence House at 2765 S. Federal Blvd.

Police called Hartwell “extremely violent” and a “habitual sex offender.”

DPD spokeswoman Raquel Lopez did confirm to Channel 2 News that authorities issued a lookout for Hartwell Friday night. She deferred any other questions to the Colorado Department of Corrections, adding that the department is handling Hartwell’s case.

Colorado Department of Corrections spokesman Roger Hudson also confirmed a warrant was issued for Hartwell Friday evening, 22 minutes after his monitor was apparently removed.

Hudson said Hartwell was on duel supervision when he walked away from Community Corrections.

Hartwell has been on parole through Colorado since Dec. 20 for failing to register as a sex offender, according to Hudson.

The escaped sex offender is also on probation with federal law enforcement for previous sex crimes and has been ordered to have lifetime federal supervision as part of his probation, he said.

Neither Lopez nor Hudson were able to answer questions regarding Hartwell’s ankle monitor.

As of Sunday, the Fugitive Apprehension Unit continued to work with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, searching for leads to locate Hartwell, said Hudson.

On Monday, U.S. Marshal’s chief deputy, Ken Deal, said, “When it comes to violent predators public awareness is paramount. We have significant resources dedicated to capturing this violent predator before he strikes again.”

The service urged anyone with information regarding Hartwell’s whereabouts to contact 1-877-926-8332.