Unregistered S.C. sex offender faces added charges in Quay County

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

Kidnapping and sexual assault charges have been filed in Quay County against a man wanted by South Carolina authorities for not registering as a sex offender, Quay County Magistrate Court documents show.

Jonathan James Moreno, 37, is being held at the Quay County Detention Center on a $100,000 bond, court officials said.

Moreno was arraigned Thursday on one felony count of kidnapping, one felony county of criminal sexual penetration, one felony count of registration of sex offender and a misdemeanor count of concealing identity, according to court documents.

Moreno was arrested Jan. 14 in Tucumcari on a warrant out of Hampton County, S.C., for failing to register as a sex offender, said Tucumcari Police detective Jack Hendrickson.

Moreno had been living in Tucumcari since September 2007 under the name of Deacon Edwards and had not registered as a sex offender with the city or state, Hendrickson said.

Police first came in contact with Moreno on Jan. 10 when he was questioned in connection with a possible sexual assault case of a 37-year-old female on Jan. 7 at an apartment on East Main Street, according to a police affidavit.

Moreno came in voluntarily on Jan. 10 to the police department and told officers his name was Deacon Edwards, 39, Hendrickson said.
When he could not produce any documentation to prove his identity, a set of fingerprints was taken on Jan. 10 and New Mexico’s forensic lab in Santa Fe said Edwards’ real identity was Jonathan James Moreno, who was wanted out of South Carolina for failing to register as a sex offender, Hendrickson said.

After Moreno was arrested on the warrant out of South Carolina, Moreno also was charged on Jan. 14 with the additional counts in Quay County, Hendrickson said.

If convicted of all the charges, Moreno could face up to 15 years in jail, Hendrickson said.

It was not known if South Carolina authorities would extradite Moreno and Hampton County officials did not immediately respond to queries about the case.