Published June 07, 2010
After a monthlong manhunt, reputed pedophile John Mark Karr was located early Monday at his parents’ house in Atlanta and served with papers ordering him to stay away from his former fiancee, according to the woman's lawyer.
But because no criminal charges have been brought against him, he may already have disappeared again, the woman's attorney, Robin Sax, said.
Karr, who now goes by the name Alexis Reich, is under investigation in San Francisco for threatening Samantha Spiegel, his former fiancee, who says he not only is undergoing sex change therapy, but that he has been trying to have followers help him create a JonBenet Ramsey cult in honor of the 6-year-old beauty pageant princess whose 1996 murder he falsely confessed to in 2006.
The search for Karr got its break two weeks ago when an American tourist spotted him washing his hands in a women's bathroom at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. The woman, Christina Nieves, said she realized that the person washing her hands next to her not only wasn’t a woman, but looked very much like Karr.
The two talked, she said, and Karr introduced himself as Alexis. They took the same flight to Chicago and, during the flight, she said Karr told her he was en route to Atlanta, where his parents live.
When Nieves got home she contacted Inside Edition, a syndicated television show that has followed the case, and told them her story and provided a picture of Karr from the plane ride. The photo showed him with a stylized woman's hairdo.
“I started realizing this is somebody who is dangerous to young children,” Nieves told Inside Edition.
The show sent reporters to Karr's parents' home in Atlanta, and his father, Wexford Karr, confirmed that his son had been home for a week.
Police showed up Monday morning and delivered the restraining order. Calls to the Atlanta Police were not returned.
Karr held a teaching position in Thailand before falsely confessing to JonBenet's murder and being returned to the U.S. to ostensibly face charges. People familiar with his case said they were concerned that his recent travel to Europe meant he was searching for a nanny or teaching position overseas. He has even posted his resume on a website bearing his new name.
Karr had lived a low-key, publicity-free life for several years until Spiegel broke up with him recently. In addition to revealing his alleged threats against her, the 19-year-old said he had asked to recruit girls as young as 4 years old “with blond hair and small feet” -- girls who looked like JonBenet -- for a cult he was trying to form. He called the girls “The Immaculates.”
Spiegel met Karr 10 years ago when he was her fourth-grade teacher. She reconnected with him after she saw him on television at a court hearing involving the JonBenet case. The two then began an intense e-mail relationship involving thousands of intimate exchanges that she says convinced her she was special to him and was destined to recruit his "Immaculates."
Karr proposed to her -- and she accepted -- two years ago, but her parents stepped in and sent their 17-year-old daughter to a therapy center for 18 months. She says he tried to restart the relationship after she was released and became angry when she declined. That is when the threats began, she told the court.
"He said if I got in the way of him and his little girls, he would have me hunted down and killed," Spiegel said at a hearing in San Francisco last month at which she got a restraining order against him.
She said she was certain that he was living as a woman in order to get close to little girls. She also produced e-mails for the court in which Karr said: "I want to hurt you."
She responded, "You do?"
"If you deceive me," he replied, "I will kill you. I know where you live."
In one of his last messages, on April 10, Karr wrote: "If you cost me my little girls I will hunt you down and kill you."