Missing sex offender found, extradited to Pinal

Willard Castenada left Maricopa in December and was found this month in Tucson. (PCSO photo)

Nearly eight months after absconding from his Maricopa home, a convicted sex offender has been recaptured.

An off-duty Pinal County sheriff’s detective is credited with identifying Willard Castenada at a shopping mall in Tucson on Aug. 14 and calling in the Violent Offender Task Force.

Castenada, 26, is a registered Level 3 sex offender who was required to wear a GPS ankle bracelet. He had been convicted of sexual conduct with a minor in a case involving a 14-year-old girl in 2010. On Dec. 28, 2014, he cut off the bracelet and left town.

According to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, he also had prior convictions for armed robbery, drug possession and several misdemeanors.

The detective who spotted Castenada is a member of the U.S. Marshal’s Violent Offender Task Force. Castenada was arrested without incident and extradited back to Pinal County.

“When Castaneda was interviewed by our detectives at PCSO Jail, he admitted that he cut off his ankle monitor and had been in Tucson since then,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said. “He said he couldn’t handle probation and wanted to live as much as he could before he was caught.”

Castenada was arraigned Aug. 21 and given no bond. His next court hearing is Sept. 14. He had warrants for violating sex-offender registration laws. He is also charged with interfering with a monitoring device.



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