WAXHAW, N.C. (WNCN/WJZY) — A month-long search for a convicted child molester ended with a foot chase and a “Forrest Gump fashion” encouragement to keep running from authorities in a North Carolina town Friday evening, deputies said.
Aaron Jones, 24, was the subject of a “multi-state manhunt” after Jones cut off his satellite-based ankle monitor while on parole and fled Georgia, according to a news release from the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
A warrant was issued for Jones and officials in Georgia told North Carolina authorities that Jones might be in Union County, which is just southeast of Charlotte, the news release said.
Jones was convicted of child molestation in May 2017, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Sex Offender Registry.
For a month, deputies “relentlessly” searched for Jones and followed up on several investigative leads, deputies said.
Jones was spotted “strolling” in downtown Waxhaw Friday evening with a woman, Janine Wetherbee, 32, of Waxhaw, the news release said.
While Jones was hiding out in the Waxhaw area, Wetherbee gave him food, money, and clothing, according to the news release.
Deputies approached Jones, who then made one “last effort to avoid apprehension” by running from authorities, deputies said.
“In true Forrest Gump fashion, Wetherbee was also overheard romantically encouraging Jones as he fled from deputies by yelling ‘Run Baby Run’,” deputies said in the news release.
Soon after the chase began, a man grabbed Jones’ jacket while he was near the pedestrian bridge that spans railroad tracks at East South Main Street, the news release said.
That slowed down Jones, who deputies soon detained.
Wetherbee was charged with felony harboring a fugitive and is currently in custody under a $50,000 secured bond.
Jones, of Sylvester, Georgia, was held under a $250,000 secured bond for the parole violation out of Georgia, deputies said.
Union County deputies also said they wanted to find the man who helped slow down Jones during the foot chase and thank him for his help.
— WJZY contributed to this report