Manhunt for alleged child pornographer heads to Massachusetts

Posted at: 03/24/2014 4:47 PM
Updated at: 03/31/2014 10:42 AM
By: Kumi Tucker

Photo: Troy Police

TROY - Troy Police, the FBI and the U.S. Marshals have been looking for 25-year-old Jesse Sawyer of Troy since last week. He is accused of having sexual contact with three little girls he knew -- one over the age of 5 and two younger than 5 -- and taking still photos of the abuse.

Recent tips have now led police to look for him in North Adams, Massachusetts. Police say they have also recently searched small hunting camps along the Mohawk River.

Police say Sawyer grew up in Lansingburgh, has extensive family in the area, and that his father alone has 21 brothers and sisters.

Police had been looking in Florida, but recently got tips that led them further north.

"The concern with someone like Mr. Sawyer is that traveling through another state as a stranger, he may befriend someone, most likely female, maybe a single mother with kids at home," said Troy Police Captain John Cooney. "The problem we have is that this then opens the door for the entire act to start again: the grooming of the children, the trust of the mom, and then the subsequent abuse, so this is a real important case for us to solve sooner rather than later."

Police say social media is helping to inform the public. The NewsChannel 13 Facebook post on Jesse Sawyer, for example, has now been shared more than 21,000 times, with more than one million views.

Many parents in Troy say they want Sawyer off the streets.

Melissa Jones has two young daughters. "I hope they catch him," she said. "I grew up in this area, and I don't trust anybody around my kids. Family only. To think that I couldn't just let my kids in the yard, knowing that somebody is close, or trying, that's just gross. That's disgusting to me."

Investigators say Sawyer left home about a week ago with no car, no phone and limited money.