In Pursuit With John Walsh: The team chase down sex offender James Meece and accused killer James Watts

Artists impression of James Meece
Artists impression of how sex offender and fugitive James Meece might look now. Pic credit: U.S. Marshals

John Walsh and his son Callahan are back on Investigation Discovery this week and are in pursuit of two new dangerous fugitives.

In the first of our fugitives, John joins in the hunt for James Meece, a child rapist who has been on the run from the law since 1999. Meanwhile, Callahan is looking at the case of  James Watts, who has been on the run since 2008 and is wanted on charges of homicide, attempted homicide, and aggravated assault.

Fugitive No.1: James Meece

James Meece has a long record of rape, gun charges, theft, and check fraud, and he is currently at the top of the U.S. Marshals and Michigan State Police’s most wanted list.

Previously arrested for raping two children in 1990, he is then accused of disappearing, in violation of the sex offender registry, and of brutally molesting two girls over a two-year period while dating their mother.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Rob Watson said of Meece, “he’s a pedophile, he’s absconded from the sex offender registry, he’s a danger to children, he’s a danger to anyone that’s around him.”

Meece is considered very adept at keeping a low profile, and he is known to have used at least two aliases, Anthony Bennetti and James Mercier. He regularly gains people’s trust by pretending to be a Vietnam veteran, and he’s even claimed to have been a prisoner of war, which is a fabrication.

Authorities believe he could be in California, Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana. He has a number of tattoos, including a teardrop on his face. He also has his knuckles tattooed; on one hand, he has, “I, heart symbol, sex,” and on the other, he has “hell.”

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Meece would be in his early 70s by now and is around 5 foot 7 with a medium build. He should be considered armed and dangerous.

Fugitive No.2: James Garland Watts

Mugshot of James Garland Watts
James Garland Watts has been on the run since 2008. Pic credit: Investigation Discovery

In March 2008, James Watts entered the home of David and Shawnta Lee in Clairton, Pennsylvania, on the pretext of asking for a job in Lee’s construction firm. However, he then chased Shawnta into a bathroom before kicking the door down and shooting her dead. David was critically injured in the attack.

Watts is described as being of athletic build and would be in his mid-50s by now. He has been known to attempt to disguise himself by wearing a wig with long dreadlocks, and he’s also tried dressing up in women’s clothes.

He has a digestive medical condition, which means he needs to take medication and requires medical supervision. It’s therefore highly likely he has regular contact with a doctor. John describes him as “extremely violent.”

More from In Pursuit With John Walsh

Follow the links to read about other recent fugitives that John and Callahan have chased after. Last week they looked at the case of Michael Waguespack, who confessed to killing his girlfriend in Austin, Texas, and then made a run for it while out on bail.

The previous week saw Walsh on the hunt for Alejandro Castillo, who is wanted for the 2016 murder of a colleague in North Carolina. He is believed to have escaped into Mexico on the border with Arizona.

In Pursuit With John Walsh airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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