Published January 21, 2008
This is part of an ongoing series that profiles America's most wanted criminals.
Jon Schillaci is educated in philosophy, religion and politics. He is a skilled musician, he's computer savvy and he speaks three languages.
So it was no wonder there was an instant connection when he began a pen-pal relationship with a family in New Hampshire after he submitted a poem to a literary magazine the family worked on.
"Everyone who meets him likes him," said FBI agent Laura Hanlon.
Schillaci was serving a 10-year sentence in a Texas prison at the time, for sexually assaulting two 11-year-old boys.
According to police, Schillaci and the New Hampshire family -- whose name has not been released for safety reasons -- started writing back and forth. Writing regularly from his jail cell, he told of his hopes for life after prison and his desire for a new beginning. He promised he could change, and the family believed him.
"He's a very eloquent person and he wrote very nice letters, talking about how he was studying in prison and how he (was) regretting the mistakes of his youth," the mother told America's Most Wanted.
"They became quite close to the point where the family felt strong enough about him that they wanted to give him a chance," Hanlon said. "They offered for him to come up and stay at their home in New Hampshire with their family."
In 1999, fresh out of prison, Schillaci headed not for Oklahoma, where he was born, or his adoptive state of Texas, but instead to the New Hampshire town of Deerfield, where his pen-pal family lived.
He registered as a sex offender, and the family offered him a room in their home until he could get back on his feet. He stayed there while working part-time at a music store and taking classes at a nearby college.
Schillaci, an accomplished pianist, even gave the family's 5-year-old son piano lessons.
One night at the dinner table, the boy told his parents he had a dark secret to share.
"One night, when we were at supper, and Schillaci wasn't around, our son said, 'I have a secret. I have a secret with Jon that I think I should tell you,' " the mother told America's Most Wanted.
The boy told his parents that Schillaci, who wasn't at home that night, had sexually assaulted him during piano lessons. Some of the assaults occurred in a bedroom in the family home.
"They (the family) had befriended him, had given him a great opportunity, and yet that friendship and bond meant nothing to him," Hanlon said.
The family went to the police, and authorities served Schillaci with a restraining order to stay away from the home. Schillaci reported to work the next day, but he left in the afternoon, leaving few clues behind except for his computer and the car he abandoned near a bus station.
Schillaci was born in Oklahoma in 1971. He was given up for adoption at an early age and he spent most of his turbulent childhood in Texas.
He excelled in school and went on to college. He holds two Masters Degrees in Humanities and Literature, and he speaks French, Spanish and German. He's also a skilled computer programmer and surfs the Web often.
"He's extremely intelligent, that's obviously what enables him to be so manipulative," Hanlon said.
For nine years he has been able to remain one step ahead of the law.
Schillaci was last seen in New Hampshire in October 1999 boarding a Greyhound bus and heading south. Soon after the FBI received a tip that he was spotted in Rosarito, a small town in Mexico. Hanlon said he likely went to Mexico City.
He is believed to be traveling under false identities. Aliases include Jon Schillaci, Jon S. Schillaci, Jon Willis, Christopher Keegan and Cody Keegan.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound fugitive has brown hair and brown eyes with a light complexion. He likes to talk about himself and spends a lot of time on the computer.
Schillaci is wanted for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, aggravated felonious sexual assault, felonious sexual assault and 23 counts of possession of child pornography.
The FBI is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.