Washington, DC - The manhunt for a former youth minister turned fugitive intensified today as the U.S. Marshals named him one of the nation's 15 Most Wanted.
Jeffrey Winston Forrest, 47, is wanted by the Taylor County Sheriff's Department in Abilene, Texas, for two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, bail jumping, and failure to appear. The U.S. Marshals joined the manhunt for Forrest after he was charged with fleeing to avoid prosecution.
"The unimaginable crimes allegedly committed by Jeffrey Forrest make him a significant threat to the public, especially children," said U.S. Marshals Service Director Donald Washington. "The U.S. Marshals will leave no stone unturned until he is behind bars to face justice."
In 2015, charges were filed against Forrest when four victims came forward and accused him of sexually assaulting them. The victims stated Forrest repeatedly assaulted them from the ages of 8 to 15. Investigators believe he used his position as a youth minister at several different churches to gain access and groom his victims. On April 2, 2015, Forrest was arrested on two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Following his arrest, Forrest was released on bond and a trial date was set for Aug. 29, 2016. Unfortunately, he failed to appear for his trial, and after an investigation into his disappearance, authorities determined he never intended to.
"It was discovered Forrest planned to flee to Mexico and obtain a new identity," said Deputy U.S. Marshal Darrell Clark of the Northern District of Texas who is leading the fugitive investigation.
While investigators found credible evidence of his travel to Mexico, his trail has grown cold due to his use and knowledge of the dark web and communication software such as Tor to mask his digital footprint.
Forrest (aka Winston Forest) is a 6-foot white male weighing approximately 250 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. He may be wearing prescription glasses and needs medication for several medical conditions. His unique physical characteristics include a tattoo of a Star Wars symbol on his right leg. Forrest is known to have a boisterous personality and tends to speak loudly when he talks.
The U.S. Marshals are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading directly to his arrest. Anyone with information should notify the nearest U.S. Marshals Service office, the agency's Communications Center at 1-877-WANTED-2, or through a tips app at USMS Tips .