SEATTLE — We are learning more about the man accused of robbing and raping an 80-year-old Seattle woman at knife-point on Wednesday.
Jacob Ward was released from Monroe Correctional Center on June 10 and was supposed to check in with his community corrections officer within 48 hours, but instead he took off.
Washington State Department of Corrections said they did everything by the book but they just don’t have enough officers to watch felons 24/7.
Ward was considered to be highly likely to reoffend and that’s why he was supposed to meet with authorities after he was released, but that never happened.
“Our community corrections officers have a real challenge of supervising those people closely,” said Norah West with the DOC.
West said Ward has a lengthy criminal history. Court documents show that Ward robbed another woman in the same neighborhood in 2008, and that there may have been sexual motivations in that case, too.
Seattle police said he not only raped an elderly Seattle woman in an apartment hallway, but he also stole a woman’s purse.
“He was kind of milling around that building or hanging around that door just waiting, sizing people up,” said Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel. “(He was) just looking for what victim he wanted.”
Ward was supposed to have made contact with a community corrections officer nearly six weeks prior to the alleged attacks but never did. The DOC issued a warrant for his arrest and started looking for him.
“Based on his criminal history, he was classified as a high violent offender which means he’s at high risk to commit another violent crime,” said West. “When people are classified as highly likely to commit a violent crime, they have closer conditions for supervision, which means their community corrections officer is going to make more field contacts with them, they’re going to be required to come into the office more frequently, they’re going to have stricter conditions of supervision — and that was the case for Mr. Ward as well.”
Seattle police spotted Ward on Thursday in the International District and cuffed him.
“When people do fail to report to their community corrections officer, we take it very seriously and that’s why we do have secretary’s warrants and that’s why we have the nationwide notification system that lets all law enforcement know that this person is out there,” West said.
Ward served a four and a half year prison sentence for 1st degree robbery and 1st degree burglary.
Once released, the state said it was up to Ward to check in with authorities.
Ward is being held at the King County Jail right now on a DOC detainer while the case is under investigation.