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1-10-13


Sex crime suspect still on the loose
COP BLAMES MEDIA

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

He’s still on the lam.

That’s the word this week from law enforcement authorities in Tennessee who are looking for a man with a last known address of Platte City.

As The Landmark reported Dec. 26, the elderly man is wanted by authorities in Tennessee for alleged crimes against children.

Wendell Lee Washam, 82, is on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Top 10 Most Wanted list. A $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to his arrest. Washam’s last known address is the 1100 block of Pleasant Hill in Platte City.

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee says Washam failed to report for trial on Dec. 3. He was expected to enter a guilty plea after being charged with two counts of child rape, solicitation to commit rape of a child, aggravated sexual

battery, solicitation of sexual exploitation of a minor and sexual exploitation of a minor by electronic means, the TBI says.

Tennessee authorities recently said Washam may be in Missouri or Kansas.

Det. Tameka Sanders with the Williamson County (Tenn.) Sheriff’s Department Child Abuse and Sex Crimes unit this week blamed the media for recent coverage as the reason authorities still have not located Washam.

“He didn’t know we were looking for him in that area until you ran your article,” Sanders told The Landmark this week.

Actually, Sanders herself had already told media about Washam’s connection to the Platte City area. She provided that information to the Daily Herald newspaper in Columbia, which placed a story on the worldwide web on Dec. 19 listing Washam’s Platte City address and explaining that authorities believed he might be in northwest Missouri or northeast Kansas.

A local law enforcement source recently told The Landmark authorities don’t believe Washam is in Platte County. Authorities in late December were checking leads in the Lansing, Ks. area and U.S. marshals are involved in trying to locate Washam, the source said.

In The Landmark’s Dec 26 issue, Platte City Police Dept. Lt. Al DeValkenaere said Tennessee authorities have contacted Platte City police “several times in the last couple of weeks to go do residence checks for them.”

“We know of him and we’re looking for him,” DeValkenaere said Wednesday when contacted by The Landmark about Washam being on the Most Wanted list in Tennessee.

Washam is described as a white male with gray hair and blue eyes, 5’7” tall and weighing about 130 pounds.

Det. Sanders has said that the case involves a 9-year-old girl who was sexually abused more than once between April and September of 2011.

“I want him in our jail quick, fast and in a hurry,” Sanders told the Daily Herald in its Dec. 19 issue. “I think that he is a very dangerous man to our children.”

Anyone with information about Washam’s whereabouts should call local authorities, or call Det. Tameka Sanders in Tennessee at 615-790-5554 or 615-790-5550; or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 800-TBI-FIND.