TARGET 8 Follow-Up: Four sex offenders still found living near elementary schools in Columbia
COLUMBIA - Fourteen sex offenders were found in Columbia living within 1,000 feet of schools a year and a half ago. Now, there are still four living in that illegal distance.
The sex offender registry is readily available on the Missouri State Highway Patrol's website. Anyone can type in an address or name, choose a radius and see sex offenders living within that radius.
When searching all of Columbia Public Schools and other childcare facilities' addresses, KOMU 8 News found four schools in Columbia with offenders living too close to schools. Those schools are Ridgeway Elementary, Parkade Elementary, West Boulevard Elementary and Carousel Playschool.
You can see in these four pictures taken from the Missouri State Highway Patrol's sex offender registry that there are offenders living within the radius of 1,000 feet.
Missouri Law states, "certain sexual offenders may not reside within 1,000 feet of any public or private school up to the 12th grade or childcare facility which is in existence at the time of the offender establishing his or her residency."
All four schools mentioned previously were built years before any of the offenders were charged. Also, all four offenders registered in the homes near the schools are marked compliant. They themselves are responsible for moving and complying with state laws.
Rachel Hidborg, a mother who lives across the street from West Boulevard, was more than shocked when told a sex offender is living that close to the school.
"I never even considered sex offenders," Hidborg said. "I find it disconcerting that there can be sex offenders that are living so close to the school without my knowledge."
Hidborg grew up in Columbia, moved around for 10 years, and is now back in Columbia raising her two-year old daughter.
"After hours, when my daughter gets older and would perhaps walk over to the park by herself or other kids in the neighborhood, that's an issue for me knowing that they do live so close to the school and in my neighborhood," Hidborg said.
Owner of The Schoolhouse Day Care, Alma Tapp, said she feels the same.
"My main concern is that the children are safe here," Tapp said.
Tapp has been in the day care business for about 50 years. She said she's never had trouble with offenders before.
"It's something that I can't be worrying about everyday you know. It's just you have a program, and you want the program to run as smoothly as it possibly can," Tapp said.
"You don't want to have to worry about people coming in and disrupting your program," she said.
Tapp recently received a letter from the state telling her there were people with child abuse records in the neighborhood.
"They gave me a diagram of where these people lived and the names of the people on the diagram," Tapp said. "I had to make a plan for registered sex offenders in the neighborhood and had to mail it back to them."
Tapp said the offenders weren't living within the 1,000 feet of the day care, but she is still concerned with seeing unfamiliar faces in the neighborhood.
"Most of the people here are retired people. I'm probably the youngest one in the neighborhood, and everybody else, we know each other," she said.
Both Tapp and Hidborg said they are concerned with who's being held accountable for these offenders living too close to schools.
"For me it doesn't really make a difference for who is accountable, as long as someone is accountable," Hidborg said. "I don't think I should have to take my time out of my busy life to find out where or if there are sex offenders in my area."
For Tapp, she just wants to make sure her kids at the daycare remain safe.
The Boone County Sheriff's Department is responsible for updating the registry and monitoring offenders. The sheriff and spokesman refused multiple requests for interviews.
To see sex offenders living near your neighborhood go to the Missouri State Highway Patrol website.