[Editor's Note: As of press time Thursday evening, the search for Jamie Lee Desantis had resumed in the Johnsonburg area amid reports that he had been spotted. He had not yet been apprehended.]
A foot pursuit and aerial search through the woods off Montmorenci Road for Jamie Lee Desantis, a fugitive who violated parole for unknown charges, were fruitless Thursday after a three-hour hunt.
Desantis was facing a state parole and had been sent to Erie County to a halfway house and had apparently not reported back to his quarters.
"Officer [Shawn] Geci pulled up and saw him running through the yards up by Shaffer [Avenue], we had a foot pursuit on him and the sheriff's department came up and we had the area surrounded," said Ridgway Police Chief Ralph Tettis. "We then called St. Marys [City Police Department] in with the tracking dog-- Copper-- and we had the state police helicopter and about five state police units up there, and five more deputies from the sheriff's department up there, and we lost him."
Police indicated Desantis is probably still in the Ridgway area because he has local ties there. Reports indicate he was last spotted attempting to hitchhike. He is described as a white male with short dark hair and when last seen was wearing a white shirt and cargo shorts. He may also be carrying a duffle bag.
Tettis indicated they will not stop looking for Desantis until he is caught. Anyone with information should contact the police. Law enforcement officials advise Desantis is not known to be dangerous.
The search lasted from approximately 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. before the hunt was called off.
"We went through the woods all the way down to the railroad tracks [near North Broad Street] heading north through the woods before the dog lost him," Tettis said.
Pick up a copy of the Friday, Aug. 19, 2011 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.