UPDATE: Non-compliant sex offender found in Jones County

James Lamar Whatley is wanted on one count of failing to register as a sex offender.
James Lamar Whatley is wanted on one count of failing to register as a sex offender.(Jones County Sheriff Department)
Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 3:27 PM CDT
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JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - A non-compliant convicted sex offender is back in Jones County Sheriff’s Department custody after failing to register with law enforcement.

On Monday, Aug. 15, the Laurel Police Department arrested James Lamar Whatley, 51, on one count of failing to register as a sex offender. He was then transferred into the custody of JCSD.

“James Whatley has violated the terms of his sex offender compliance requirements and is now wanted on an arrest warrant,” said JCSD Investigator Wesley Waites. “We have zero tolerance on non-compliant sex offenders, as the public rightly expects.”

Earlier in the day, the JCSD issued an alert for the wanted Whatley. A local resident later recognized Whatley sitting at the bar of a Laurel Mexican restaurant and called JCSD Investigator Sgt. J.D. Carter.

Carter notified the emergency dispatch, who sent LPD to the restaurant.

Whatley is incarcerated at the Jones County Adult Detention Facility pending his initial court appearance.

“We don’t play those games with sex offenders who think they can avoid following the rules,” said Waites.

JCSD Sheriff Joe Berlin praised the teamwork between law enforcement and the public.

“Great teamwork all around by everyone involved in the hunt for James Whatley,” said Berlin. “Don’t test us and think you can get away with total disregard for the sex offender laws in Mississippi. You will most certainly lose.”

Whatley was convicted on April 8, 1996, under Mississippi Code 97-5-23, on one count of “touching, handling, etc., a child, mentally defective or incapacitated person or physically helpless person.”

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