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  1. #1
    JJJJaded is offline It's The Same Old Story, Same Old Song and Dance, My Friend...S. Tyler
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    NY - Stephanie Caruso, 16, Long Island, 31 Jan 2005

    Footprints in the snow are one of the only clues Stephanie Caruso's parents have about the missing 16-year-old's whereabouts.

    They lead from beneath her open bedroom window, past the above-ground pool, under a fallen tree, to the road behind the house. There, they double over each other, back and forth, as if she paced before getting into a car.



    The Southampton teenager has been missing since Sunday night, and police believe she was picked up by Lester B. Joy, 24, a convicted and registered sex offender from New Jersey she met on the Internet.

    Released from prison in September, Joy is rated a sex offender of the highest level and has a criminal record stretching into his juvenile years, according to the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

    Caruso's family Wednesday pleaded for help finding her. They waited for police to call with information -- any information.

    "We have no idea what kind of phone call we're going to get," said her stepfather Eric Kunz, 56. "We're petrified. It's heartbreaking."

    Investigators and relatives believe Caruso met Joy, of Morristown, on the Internet in December. Their relationship was solidified through cell phone chats. She ran up a $1,500 bill before her parents took away the phone.

    Police said Joy told Caruso he was 18, not 24. But he knew she was 16.

    Kunz told that to Joy himself after Caruso's mother, Christine Kunz, listened in on a phone call between the two three weeks ago. Caruso seemed different lately, and Kunz overheard Joy tell her he would come and take her away.

    "I said, 'You've caused nothing but problems,'" Eric Kunz said. "'That's called statutory rape.' I said, 'Let me put it this way: She's jailbait.'"

    He didn't know until after Caruso was missing that Joy had just served 3 years in prison for a sexual assault charge in Morris County, N.J.

    The victim on that charge was between 16 and 18 years old, officials said. An initial charge of endangering the welfare of a minor was dropped against Joy when he pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault and third-degree theft.

    The sexual assault did not necessarily involve physical force, said Sgt. Steve Wilson, who handles sex crimes for the Morris County Prosecutor's Office.

    Neither Joy nor his family could be reached to comment.

    Det. Sgt. Randy Hintze of the Southampton town police said there was no indication Caruso and Joy had ever met before Sunday.

    Caruso, a 5-foot-7 teenager who loves her cat, video games and taking culinary classes, was last seen going to bed about 9:30 p.m. Her mother found her room empty at 5 the next morning.

    Left behind were her coat, mittens and medication she'd been taking for concentration problems and depression.

    Phone records show the teenager made a call using her mother's cell phone just before 2 a.m. She and Joy then stopped at six ATMs on the way to Morristown, taking more than a $1,000 from Caruso's mother's account, relatives said.

    Since she's been gone, her family has left more than a dozen desperate messages on the cell phone.

    Police ask anyone with information to call Southampton Town Police at 631-728-5000 or the Crime Hotline at 631-728-3454.

    "This is your worst nightmare. One day you have a normal kid. ... " Kunz said, without
    Last edited by JJJJaded; 02-08-2005 at 12:27 AM. Reason: take out ad

  2. #2
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    Police ask anyone with information to call Southampton Town Police at 631-728-5000 or the Crime Hotline at 631-728-3454.

    Photo of Stephanie and photo of Lester here

    With prayers of HOPE for Stephanie, Lanie

  3. #3
    You can find someone of the same name here

    No one can say that it really is... but... with his history...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by audrey77
    You can find someone of the same name here

    No one can say that it really is... but... with his history...
    Yep - that's him. That's the same pic that's in the Newsday article above.

    Prayers for her safe return,
    Amanda

  5. #5
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    Yes, that's him, Audrey

    sbi: 000296782C
    Name: Joy, Lester
    DOB: July 27, 1980 <----he's 24 now
    Sex: M
    Race: Black
    County: Morris
    admission date: October 25, 2002
    Status: Released

    From the article... "The Southampton teenager has been missing since Sunday night, and police believe she was picked up by Lester B. Joy, 24, a convicted and registered sex offender from New Jersey she met on the Internet."

    The article states "...Joy had just served 3 years in prison for a sexual assault charge in Morris County, N.J."

    *Megan's Law mandates Sex Offenders be registered and published.* This guy lost his right to privacy when he sexually assaulted someone. The fact he was able to plead down to a lesser charge bothers me. They rarely are rehabilitated. They often times offend again.

    Also, the photo matches the one in the article. Thanks for finding this, Audrey.

    The stats say he is 5'4" and 210 #

    Prayers for Stephanie, that she is found and soon.
    With love and HOPE, Lanie

  6. #6
    New Jersey irks me... because in order to get information about a level 3 sex offender, you have to know the offenders full name and address. Ugh!

    At least PA just expanded (like 2 weeks ago) the sexual offender website- so that you may search for offenders who are NOT in prison.

    I have the pleasure of living in PA... on the river next to Trenton, NJ.

    Here is the most recent article...

    Missing Girl
    By The Independent

    Southampton Town Police are still searching for 16-year-old Stephanie Caruso of Hampton Bays, who has been missing since February 1. She is believed to be with a 24-year-old black male she met over the Internet. He is a registered sex offender in New Jersey and is currently out on parole.
    They could either be in Morristown, NJ or in South Carolina. A New York State missing child alert has been issued for her.
    According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Caruso is five feet, seven inches, and 200 lbs. She was last seen wearing a pink striped sweater, black boots, an aqua blue high school ring and a Playboy bunny necklace. She has brown hair, hazel eyes, and a birthmark on her left shoulder.
    He is five feet, four inches, and 220 lbs., with black hair and brown eyes. He has a scar on his head and tattoos on both of his arms and left shoulder.
    Police are asking anyone with information to call 728-5000 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST).
    Last edited by audrey77; 02-08-2005 at 11:28 PM. Reason: Added an article!

  7. #7
    JJJJaded is offline It's The Same Old Story, Same Old Song and Dance, My Friend...S. Tyler
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    Still No Leads

    As of todays article in Newsday...They say police have no leads.....So very sad.
    I haven't seen any other but local news on this.....I wonder if the parents are getting any help getting this out to other states....I am praying for her so much...she lives not far from me....

    M
    Last edited by JJJJaded; 02-09-2005 at 04:47 PM. Reason: spelling

  8. #8
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    Oh my God, how horrible!!! I pray that they find this girl before something horrible happens to her.

  9. #9
    JJJJaded is offline It's The Same Old Story, Same Old Song and Dance, My Friend...S. Tyler
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    More Info

    According to an article in Southampton Press which I can not access because I am not a paying subscriber...says that police know that Stephanie was in San Antonio, Texas recently on her way to Mexico. Says she supposedly going there to marry the sex offender......
    I hope they can catch them before they cross over.....
    Please God, Bring her home safely.
    Praying for the family.
    M

  10. #10
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    I am also from Long Island and this case has me very upset. The article I read intimated that this girl has some learning disabilities and/or psychiatric issues. It leaves her an easy target. I hope they find her soon before something horrible happens.


  11. #11
    JJJJaded is offline It's The Same Old Story, Same Old Song and Dance, My Friend...S. Tyler
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    I know what you mean

    I know what you mean......personally and from experience. I have gone thru similar with my child. It is the most horrifying. Thank God my child got away but was almost killed a few times by insane people.

    M

  12. #12
    JJJJaded is offline It's The Same Old Story, Same Old Song and Dance, My Friend...S. Tyler
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    Also

    Alot of these guys turn out to be pimps too.
    I doubt very much if his intention is to marry her. From what I understand she is a perfect target because of mental issues. They take them to other states and keep them moving while the girls "work" for them.

    Just my opinion.

    M

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJJJaded
    I know what you mean......personally and from experience. I have gone thru similar with my child. It is the most horrifying. Thank God my child got away but was almost killed a few times by insane people.

    M
    How old is your daughter? I can't imagine the panic you must have felt, but I'm hoping there was a happy ending for you.

  14. #14
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    NCMEC profile

    Printable Poster

    Photo

    Case Type: Endangered Runaway
    DOB: Jun 17, 1988
    Sex: Female
    Missing Date: Jan 30, 2005
    Race: White
    Age Now: 16
    Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
    Weight: 200 lbs (91 kg)
    Hair Color: Brown
    Eye Color: Hazel
    Missing City: HAMPTON BAYS
    Missing State : NY
    Missing Country: United States
    Case Number: USNY10519
    Circumstances: ****A NEW YORK STATE MISSING CHILD ALERT HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR THIS CHILD.***** Stephanie was last seen wearing a pink stripe sweater, black boots, an aqua blue high school ring and a playboy bunny necklace. She may be in The Morristown, New Jersey area with a 24 year old black male she met over the internet. He is 5'4", 220 lbs, black hair, brown eyes. He has tattoos on his left and right arms and left shoulder and a scar on his head. He is a registered sex offender in New Jersey who is currently on parole.

    2nd link at NCMEC

    NYS-MECC profile of BOTH

    Prayers for Stephanie, Lanie

  15. #15
    JJJJaded is offline It's The Same Old Story, Same Old Song and Dance, My Friend...S. Tyler
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    Parents UnHappy With Police Handling

    DA, teen's kin slam town cops over leak

    BY JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER
    STAFF WRITER

    February 15, 2005

    The parents of a missing Hampton Bays teenager and the Suffolk district attorney Monday criticized Southampton Town police, saying they mishandled the case by leaking information to the local newspaper.

    The parents said they first learned from an article in the Southampton Press that their daughter, Stephanie Caruso, 16, who has been missing since Jan. 31, is likely in Texas, heading over the border to marry a convicted sex offender she met on the Internet.
    The parents faulted town police for botching the investigation by possibly tipping off Caruso and Lester B. Joy, 24. Meanwhile, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said revealing so much information was "ill advised."

    Now Caruso's parents, Eric and Christine Kunz, say they want Southampton Town police to drop the case and turn it over to the Suffolk District Attorney's Office. "They kept saying [to us] they had nothing new," said Caruso's stepfather, Eric Kunz.

    The article quoted Southampton Town Police Lt. John James. Monday, neither James nor any other Southampton Town police official returned repeated calls for comment.

    The article said Caruso wasn't abducted as detectives originally believed. Instead, police said, she and Joy were "saving for weeks, with the goal of traveling to Mexico."

    In a statement, Spota said, "The unfortunate description of Miss Caruso's disappearance by local police as a 'well-planned trip' as a prelude to marriage belies the true nature of these events -- that a 16-year-old girl is traveling across the country with a convicted sex offender on parole.

    "Let's remember," Spota said, "that under the law, Stephanie Caruso is a minor incapable of consent."

    Other details outlined in the story were that police believe Caruso and Joy are in San Antonio, Texas, and that she was using her parents' bank cards.

    Kunz said Monday that those details could help Joy evade police.

    However, Peter Moskos, a professor of law and police science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, said that in Caruso's case, where it doesn't appear she was violently abducted, releasing information could help locate her. "This is the type of investigation that secrecy may not help the police. More publicity would be better."

    Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law, said James' comments to the Southampton Press makes it look like Caruso knew she was leaving with a sex offender. "This police department is so incompetent that they're revictimizing Stephanie," she said.

    Ahearn and Caruso's parents plan to meet with Spota Tuesday to ask him to take the case.

    Copyright 2005, Newsday, Inc.
    Last edited by JJJJaded; 02-15-2005 at 05:58 AM. Reason: ads

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