Sex offender arrested after picking up Anchorage child
An Anchorage sex offender who has repeatedly failed to register with the state was arrested last week shortly after picking up a young child from school, court records show.
Martin Jordan Pettingill, 39, had allegedly been living under an assumed name when he was picked up.
He faces a felony count of failure to register as a sex offender after his latest arrest. He has appeared in the state’s sex offender registry since 2012, when court records indicate he pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted sexual abuse of a minor and third-degree assault on a child in a 2010 Kenai case.
According to a charging document against Pettingill, he came to the attention of the Sex Offender Investigations Branch at the U.S. Marshals Service in November. At the time, the agency was investigating "non-compliant sex offenders in Alaska."
Pettingill was wanted on three warrants at the time, including a parole warrant for failing to report to a probation officer after being released from jail in April. The other two were for failure to register as a sex offender, as Pettingill has been required to re-register each January for 15 years since his 2012 plea.
The Anchorage Gospel Rescue Mission on Tudor Road was Pettingill’s last known address, based on his responses in a 2018 court form. Investigators didn’t find him there, but learned that he might be living in an apartment on Price Street.
On the afternoon of Jan. 28, members of the Marshals Service, Alaska State Troopers and APD watched Pettingill drive from the apartment to an area elementary school, where he picked up a child. When he returned at about 4 p.m., Marshals Service officers drove up and ordered him to get out of the vehicle.
“Once he exited the vehicle Pettingill began to run towards the alley, where Trooper (Garrett) Willis was positioned,” prosecutors wrote. “Trooper Willis walked out from behind the residence and instructed verbally for Pettingill to stop.”
At that point, prosecutors said, Pettingill stopped – then began to run back toward his vehicle.
“Pettingill was contacted by Officer (John) Daily and escorted to the ground where he continued to struggle with other members of the U.S. Marshals while attempting to cuff him,” prosecutors wrote. “Pettingill was placed in cuffs, and transported to the Anchorage Jail and remanded on his outstanding warrants, as well as this case.”
When Willis spoke with two of the apartment’s adult residents, they told him Pettingill had been staying there for about two weeks – and that they didn’t know about his criminal record.
"Both [occupants] were unaware that Pettingill had outstanding warrants, or that he was required to register as a sex offender," prosecutors wrote. "[They] advised they had no clue his name was Pettingill because he stated his name was Johnny Davis. [One of them said] if she knew who Pettingill was he would have not been allowed at her address, because she has a 7-year-old [child] that lives with her."
Anchorage police declined to discuss why Pettingill had picked up the child, or whether the child was harmed during the subsequent events.
Pettingill was arraigned Thursday, court records show, with his bail initially set at a total of $4,000. A statewide inmate database showed him still in custody Tuesday at the Anchorage Correctional Complex.
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