DUNKIRK, N.Y. (WIVB) - A Niagara County jury has convicted a Dunkirk man of molesting two young girls. But Paul Turley has been missing ever since he skipped out on his trial last week.
A fugitive task force involving U.S. Marshals and Niagara County Sheriff's deputies are on the hunt for Turley, and if he's fled to another state, they have the ability to go get him. In Dunkirk, police are keeping a close eye on his rented Lincoln Avenue home.
Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano said, "Our patrol officers are checking on a day-to-day basis, every shift does do a check to see if there's any movement or any life at the residence on Lincoln Avenue, and they have not located Mr. Turley nor his wife at any time."
Turley's landlord describes him and Turley's wife as loners, but adds the couple always paid their rent on time.
"He didn't give me any uncomfortable feelings. He didn't seem threatening or anything. But that's the way those type of people probably try to conduct themselves. It's really kind of unnerving," Jim Stern said.
Turley, 47, is a wanted man following his conviction on sex charges involving two children from 1996 through 1998. Both children were around 6-years-old at the time.
Turley left his Niagara County Court trial last Wednesday during jury selection and has not been seen or heard from since. The trial moved forward without him and jurors were not told why Turley was not present. He was convicted in absentia of sexual abuse and course of sexual conduct against a child.
The only person who has heard from Turley is his attorney, Daniel Stevanovic, who received a phone call from the fugitive last Wednesday.
"There were some problematic matters with his bail possibly being changed and he was very concerned about that," Stevanovic said.
Authorities say Turley's wife, Diane, did not show for work that same day and is also missing, along with the couple's two dogs. But the only arrest warrant that has been issued is for Paul Turley. Prosecutors are confident he will be found.
Asst. District Attorney Elizabeth Donatello said, "Should he be picked up anywhere in the country he cannot be granted bail by anyone. And yes the district attorney's office will extradite."
No one is more aware of Turley's runaway status than Jennifer, one of the victims in the sexual abuse case. She is now 21-years-old and wanted to go public with her story following Turley's conviction.
"I trust the people who are looking for him, and they better find him," she said. "I and my family will defend ourselves if we need to. But I'm not scared of him. Not anymore."
Two tip lines have been set up for anyone with information on Turley's whereabouts. You can call 438-3344 or 438-3323.
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