They tried to contact Couey five days after Jessica disappeared and discovered he no longer lived there. But the 4, Pasco County School District bus stop locations, nearly all of which are more than 2 miles from a school, made it impractical. The state adopted its residency restrictions in , and many local governments followed suit after the abduction, rape and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford by a convicted sex offender living nearby in Citrus County. He said he feared the ordinance would make it difficult for him to move in the future and hurt his ability to support his family. With a vote Tuesday afternoon, the board approved a new ordinance prohibiting sex offenders from living within 2, feet of schools, playgrounds, day care centers, parks and public libraries. Couey lived near her home before he left for Georgia without telling authorities, officials said.
It was then moved to Miami. Homosassa is about 60 miles north of Tampa. A map showing where the sex offenders can live is not yet complete, but must be finished before the ordinance can be enforced. He said he feared the ordinance would make it difficult for him to move in the future and hurt his ability to support his family. Detectives grew interested in Couey while interviewing all registered sex offenders in the area. Lunsford was abducted from her home in the central Florida town of Homosassa in February But another relative confided to a detective that Couey had stayed at her home. Other states also introduced tougher legislation on sex offenders. Flynn said Couey came to police headquarters voluntarily and was interviewed for about two hours. Couey, 46, was described by authorities as a "person of interest" in the search for Jessica Lunsford, who vanished from her bedroom Feb. Couey's home in Homosassa is about two miles from Jessica's, but he also sometimes stayed with his half sister who lives within "eyeshot" of her house, Dawsy said. Because of the restriction, Mattern, who was convicted 35 years ago of raping a woman, claimed he ended up on the streets, where he said he was beaten and robbed. Investigators "may take him out of the picture" once they interview him, Citrus County Sheriff Jeff Dawsy said. Authorities declined to say what Couey had told them Saturday. During a burglary in , he was accused of grabbing a girl in her bedroom, placing his hand over her mouth and kissing her, Dawsy said. Drake asked for additional study, saying there was no empirical data showing that a 2,foot buffer makes children safer. Mark Lunsford, Jessica's father, said Wednesday that the family didn't know Couey. His confession was thrown out of court because police did not allow him to talk to a lawyer at the time. Additionally, at the request of the Pasco Sheriff's Office, the ordinance extends to all sexual offenders the prohibition against handing out candy to Halloween trick-or-treaters. Instead, many were arrested for possessing child pornography or having sexual contact with an underage relative. The half sister said Couey had traveled to Savannah, Ga. But the 4, Pasco County School District bus stop locations, nearly all of which are more than 2 miles from a school, made it impractical. The state adopted its residency restrictions in , and many local governments followed suit after the abduction, rape and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford by a convicted sex offender living nearby in Citrus County. April 21, Updated: They tried to contact Couey five days after Jessica disappeared and discovered he no longer lived there. Couey's criminal record includes arrests for burglary, carrying a concealed weapon and indecent exposure.
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