By JOSH NEWTON
Authorities ended a months-long search Monday morning when they found a Tahlequah fugitive in Muskogee.
Richard James Kessinger Sr., 58, had been the focus of a lengthy search by Cherokee County law enforcement officials. Kessinger was wanted on two counts of failing to register as a sex offender, and is also facing a pending case of endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine.
He was found in Muskogee Monday morning and immediately taken into custody.
As part of the area search, several other people have been arrested on meth-related charges and accusations of harboring a fugitive – in this case, Kessinger – in recent weeks.
Sheriff’s Investigator James Brown, a special deputy U.S. Marshal, said authorities received information that Kessinger could be in the Muskogee area, near Augusta and Choctaw streets. Cherokee County investigators worked with officers from Muskogee County and the U.S. Marshal Service to look for Kessinger at two homes there, but were unable to find him at either place.
They then drove toward a house in the 1200 block of Wood Street, a short distance from the first two homes, and found Kessinger standing in the middle of the road, Brown said.
Kessinger had reportedly been staying behind the house for several days and living out of a car belonging to Veronica M. Crow, 63, of Tahlequah. Authorities found that car behind the house.
Brown said Crow was also behind the house and immediately told authorities she wanted to talk with a lawyer. She was arrested and booked into the Muskogee County Jail for harboring a fugitive.
Kessinger was also held in Muskogee, where he is expected to be charged with failing to register as a sex offender.
Brown said Kessinger will have to deal with those charges and then be brought back to Cherokee County to face his local cases, including one with no bond.