Hundreds of repeat felons known as ‘Career Offenders’ missing in Florida

(WSVN) - You have probably heard of the sex offender registry but maybe not the “career offender” registry. It’s how police track the most dangerous criminals in Florida, but the Nightteam’s Brian Entin discovered hundreds are slipping through the cracks, which leads us to ask, “Where are they?”

They are known as the “worst-of-the-worst.”

Repeat felons, in and out of prison, with long rap sheets.

Convictions including armed robbery, aggravated stalking, animal torture and murder.

The state calls them “career offenders.”

Maj. Adrian Cummings, Miami-Dade Police: “These are not your one-time offenders. These are your hardened criminals that continue to victimize society.”

There are more than 20 thousand career offenders in Florida.

The felons are required to register where they’re living, and law enforcement is supposed to keep track of them, but 7News has found hundreds are missing and listed as “absconded” in the state database.

Ronna Demattia, victim’s friend: “It’s absolutely devastating. He was such a nice person.”

Faical Ben Mekki was murdered last May.

Police say career offender Erick Bath pulled the trigger, killing Mekki in this box truck and then stuffing his body inside a garbage can in Fort Lauderdale.

Bath’s rap sheet goes back to the 1980s, and at the time of the murder, he should have been registered and tracked by police, but instead, he was missing.

Ronna Demattia: “I’m very upset. I don’t think that law enforcement did their job.”

We analyzed data from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Statewide, 658 career offenders are missing. Eighty-nine are from Broward County, and 337 are missing from Miami-Dade, more than half the state total.

Brian Entin: “For people at home watching who hear there are hundreds of absconders, that are basically missing in Miami-Dade, should they be worried about that?

Maj. Adrian Cummings: “There’s always a concern when individuals who are criminals are not in police custody.”

Miami-Dade Police Maj. Adrian Cummings says the department has a sergeant and six detectives keeping track of the county’s 2,600 career offenders.

They have to verify the felons’ addresses every year.

It is a huge job because the number of career offenders in Florida is constantly growing.

Maj. Adrian Cummings: “Because of the sheer number of absconders and trying to make contact with that many people, it just can be a challenge.”

We tried tracking down several of the missing offenders ourselves.

Brian Entin: “How long has he been gone?”

Neighbor: “Last night.”

Brian Entin: “He was here last night?”

Neighbor: “Uh huh.”

We went back to this condo every day for a week but no luck, and the other houses we checked also turned up nothing.

Maj. Adrian Cummings: “We’re out there looking for these individuals on a daily basis.”

Career offenders are required to fill out this form and notify authorities within two days of moving. If they don’t, it’s a felony. We have a list of all of the missing career offenders in South Florida down below.

Absconded Miami-Dade Career Offenders

Absconded Broward County Career Offenders

**Please note: This Excel data on absconded career offenders is from 2/21/20 and will continue to change. To search for an individual’s current status:

FDLE Career Offender Search:

Download FDLE Data on Career Offenders by County or Statewide:

If you have any information on their whereabouts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS or Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.

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