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Last updated 5:09AM ET
February 27, 2021
Alabama
Alabama
Sex Offender's Arrest Raises Alarm In Selma
(2007-08-28)
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Authorities in the Selma area are urging parents to talk to their children about safety after a convicted sex offender was accused of chasing a 10-year-old girl at a bus stop last week.

Joe Earl Edwards, 52, was arrested and ordered held on $500,000 bond on a charge of enticing a child for immoral purposes.

John Halford, a Dallas County sheriff's investigator, testified that Edwards told authorities he saw "a blonde, pretty girl and he wanted to ask her on a date," by which he meant he "wanted to have sex with her."

Schools in the area are talking to children about safety and heightening their own alerts for suspicious people and vehicles, The Selma Times-Journal reported Monday. School officials have also asked the community to watch out for children.

"I would also like to remind parents to talk with their children about safety measures while at the bus stop, and we will do the same thing in the schools," said Fannie Majors McKenzie, superintendent of Dallas County public schools.

District Judge Bob Armstrong said Edwards, who was arrested Thursday after the Wednesday incident, is "a danger to this community."

"It's for the grace of God we're not standing here on some other horrendous charge," the judge said at a Friday hearing.

Edwards has been a registered sex offender since March 1995, when he was convicted of sexually assaulting his 10-year-old niece. The Selma Times-Journal reported that he told investigators he got off work at Miller Lumber Company at 6 a.m. Wednesday, went to his sister's home to eat and shower and was heading home toward Plantersville when he saw the girl.

He chased her to her home, but she escaped unharmed. Investigators said Edwards drove by the area "six or seven times" thinking she would come back.

There are more than 60 registered sex offenders in Selma and Dallas County, authorities said. Assistant District Attorney Shannon Lynch has made it her mission to keep track of area sex offenders, especially those who prey on children.

"I know for a fact there's a lot more of them out there," said Lynch. "It takes a citywide effort, people calling and reporting them, and time to track them down."

City schools spokeswoman Lynn Henderson said parents need to talk to and instill confidence in their children so they can stay as safe as possible in any potentially dangerous situation.

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Information from: Times Journal, http://www.selmatimesjournal.com/
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