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Convicted child molester on the run | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – A manhunt is underway for a convicted child molester.

31-year-old Elonzo Latham was standing trial in Lowndes County for the sexual battery of a 13-year-old girl.

He didn’t return from the break for closing arguments.

That absence didn’t stop a jury from finding him guilty.

“A Columbus man is still on the run after being charged with a child sex crime. The D.A. says Elonzo Latham entered in the courtroom, saw things weren’t looking too good for him, exited for lunch, and just never came back,” said DA Scott Colom. “We were at the end of the trial. Mr. Latham testified and tried to put up a bogus defense but couldn’t explain why his DNA proved that he was the father of that minor child. And after that didn’t go well, instead of sticking around for closing arguments, he fled.”

Colom said Latham’s disappearance isn’t going to shorten his prison stay.

“I know the judge is gonna hold that against him – that he didn’t have respect enough to at least be there for sentencing,” he said.

CPD Investigator Chris Ware led the charge in bringing Latham to justice.

Columbus Police Chief Joseph Daughtry said it’s important his investigators get the case right the first time, keeping the victim’s relatives at the forefront of the case.

“It’s also very imperative that we talk to the families and keep the families up to date with what’s going on. A lot of times, people watch television shows and see it on TV and they feel like because a show can solve a case in 30 minutes the Columbus Police Department should be able to do the same thing. It’s just not that way in reality. We have to get it right. We’re here to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves,” said Daughtry.

Once Latham is back in custody, he will be facing a 20-year to life sentence.

The Columbus Police Department, Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, and the US Marshal’s Service are all involved in the search for Elonzo Latham.

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