UPDATE from JCSD on January 4:
A sex offender is behind bars in Hattiesburg because police say he didn’t register.
Hattiesburg officials said on Monday, 49-year-old Michael Joe Whitaker was taken into custody on Highway 49 on an active warrant for failure to register as a sex offender.
Whitaker, of Jones County, has been convicted of two counts of aggravated rape and two counts of indecent proposal to a child in Oklahoma, as well as two counts of sexual battery in Harrison, Mississippi.
His last known address was on Gateway Campground Road in Ellisville.
ORIGINAL POST, Jan. 3 at 12:49 p.m.
The Jones County Sheriff’s Department is searching for absconded sex offender Michael Joe Whitaker, age 49. This subject has committed sex crimes in several states, is a child predator, and is considered a serious threat to public safety.
Whitaker has been placed on the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the U.S. Marshals Service is being requested to join the hunt for this absconded sex offender.
Anyone with knowledge on the whereabouts of Michael Joe Whitaker is asked to call 911, JCSD at 601-425-3147, or Jones County Crime Stoppers at 601-428-STOP (7867).