NORFOLK -- A convicted child rapist from Colorado was taken into custody in Norfolk Friday.
A felony warrant was issued for 51-year-old Eric Hartwell after he cut his GPS ankle bracelet and walked out of a Denver halfway house a week ago, authorities said.
Deputies were able to track Hartwell from a bus station to a motel on N. Military Highway in Norfolk, according to the U.S. Marshals service.
Witnesses tell 13News Now authorities had part of the Motel 6 parking lot blocked off around 11 am Friday, where US Marshals stormed Hartwell’s room.
When Hartwell refused to open the door at the motel, authorities broke it down and after a brief struggle took him into custody, according to a press release.
“We have been relentlessly pursuing Hartwell, day and night, as he fled across the country,” said Chief Deputy Kenneth Deal. “When a dangerous predator is on the loose we don’t stop. Public safety is always our main concern.”
Hartwell had been living in Denver since December, but Hartwell's criminal history goes back much further.
Hartwell has been arrested and released a handful of times since the early 90s and has shown he won't hesitate to run again. Investigators had described Hartwell as a sexual predator, with a violent history and a track record of running.
In 1991, he was convicted of raping a child in Washington state. He picked up a pregnant hitchhiker there in 1995. The victim got away but said Hartwell tried to rape her.
"This is a guy who has a pretty dangerous past who's out there," said Psychologist Dr. Max Wachtel.
Wachtel says a person's past actions can sometimes help predict their next moves. Hartwell has shown little sign of leaving his past crimes behind.
"Those are the patterns or the behaviors of somebody who probably isn't feeling or showing a whole lot of remorse," he said.
Hartwell had multiple convictions for molesting a six-year-old in Washington State, attempted rape of a 15-year-old in 1995 and numerous other convictions for failing to register as a sex offender.
Marshals say Hartwell has failed to register as a sex offender multiple times between 2007 and 2009. He disappeared from a halfway house near Seattle in 2009 and made it to Texas before being picked up again.
"There's a very good chance he's gone, he's in another state now," Wachtel said. "He doesn't stick around, and is maybe smart enough to know, he'd get busted if he sticks around."
After serving 60 months in federal prison, Hartwell failed to register again in 2011, in Clear Creek County, Colorado. He went back to jail. He was paroled last December, under supervised release and was living in Denver until he disappeared.
Eric Hartwell appeared in Norfolk Federal Court Friday afternoon. He agreed to be extradited to Texas, which is where a judge had assigned him to the halfway house facility in Colorado that he escaped from on Sunday.
He will be sent to a holding facility in Norfolk until he is transferred to Texas.