By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
Chapa was next. He smelled awful—the odor made her nauseous. After penetrating her briefly, Chapa got up and the girl tried to pull her pants up. He told her not to bother—they weren't finished with her yet.
Finally, after all four men had raped her, Chapa drove the girl back to St. James. Before she got out, they warned her to keep her mouth shut.
"You know what will happen," one warned.
She initially kept it quiet, fearing retaliation, but when rumors began circulating around school, a counselor called her into the office and she broke down.
When Chapa found out the cops were looking for him, he hit the road. He made it as far as Kansas City before the FBI caught up to him. Yet he managed to escape capture by diving out of a second-story window.
But when he returned to Blue Earth to see a girlfriend, police collared him. Chapa was convicted of third-degree sexual assault and sent to the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud. He served two years and was released to community supervision in 2000. That's when he went on the lam.
Although Police Chief Vereide has had leads from all over the country, including North Carolina and Kansas City, he believes Chapa could return to Minnesota to visit family.
"Any time you have a third-degree sex offender, they're the most likely to reoffend," Vereide says. "To be honest, we didn't think he could stay out of trouble long enough."
Matthew Eric Linngren
Matthew Eric Linngren was a trusted friend to the kids at his Columbia Heights Lutheran church. The 25-year-old was the church's youth director and spent many hours alone with his young charges.
Linngren became particularly close with one 10-year-old boy. The two shared family through marriage, and would sometimes see one another outside of church.
Linngren asked the boy to help him plan a special summer event. He suggested they stay overnight at the church to work on it. They slept in Linngren's office.
As the boy awoke the next morning, he felt Linngren's hands under his clothes. He thought Linngren was trying to touch his penis.
The boy said nothing, but avoided Linngren from then on. It wasn't until five years later that the boy told Anoka County deputies what had happened.
After a contentious trial that split the community and the Linngren family, Linngren took a plea without having to admit his guilt.
"This has drug on far too long and should never have been brought in the first place," he told the court.
The judge gave him two years probation.
The case might have evaporated from memory were it not for a special FBI investigation into child porn on the internet. They zeroed in on Linngren for a cache of images he was sharing with about a dozen members of a Yahoo group. All told, Linngren had distributed 600 images of young boys in sexual situations.
Linngren turned on his former employer and blamed the Missouri Synod Church. He was gay, he contended, and the repression was why he was acting out.
The judge showed little sympathy in handing down a 15-year sentence earlier this year.
Soon after, the 38-year-old Linngren sent his friends and family a letter explaining that he would never survive prison. He wasn't going to stick around to find out. A week before he was to report to U.S. Marshals, his electronic monitoring bracelet alerted authorities he'd gone off the grid.
U.S. Marshals are particularly concerned about the case because of Linngren's careful planning.
"This could be a tricky one for us," says U.S. Deputy Marshal Kelly Sullivan. "He's just not your average criminal."
Curtis Lee Brovold
After months of her 14-year-old daughter's secretive behavior, the mother decided she had to know the truth.
As she clicked through the girl's emails, she found a series of messages sent to the same address. When she opened a drawer, she found a computer disk containing naked photos of her daughter. The girl had been sending them to a supposedly 29-year-old man.
"The mother was really on the ball," says Moorhead Police Juvenile Investigator Robert Porter. "But she couldn't piece it together fast enough."
Six months prior, the girl had met a charming guy in an online chat room. As their relationship grew, he began sending her phone cards to pay for calls to his home in Granite Falls. He sent flowers and chocolate.
Then he sent her a digital camera and asked her for naked pictures.
Finally, in July 2000, the man flew to Moorhead, rented a truck, and drove to a motel. The girl agreed to meet him at a nearby gas station.
After the girl's mom discovered the photos, she called the police. She gave cops the name of a hotel she'd found scrawled on a piece of paper in the girl's room. The desk clerk reported the girl had arrived with an older man, and that they had just switched to the Jacuzzi suite.