FBI searching for Missouri man added to ‘Ten Most Wanted Fugitives’ list
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A Franklin County man was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list for alleged sex-trafficking activities involving children.
On Thursday, the FBI added Donald Eugene Fields II to the list. He is wanted for the alleged sex trafficking of at least one child in Missouri between 2013-17. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri issued a federal arrest warrant for him Dec. 8, 2022.
The FBI added Fields has family ties in Missouri and Kentucky. Fields last lived in Franklin County near St. Louis. The FBI said he’s also known to visit casinos in Flordia.
According to Franklin County court records, Fields was charged with several child sex crimes, including three counts of child molestation, two counts of statutory rape and attempted child enticement. Overall, Fields has been charged with 10 felonies. All recorded offenses happened between 2013-17.
In a release from the FBI, an agent in the St. Louis Division added that Fields, “allegedly demonstrated a pattern of abusing minor females in his circle that are entrusted to his care, manipulating them to earn their trust quickly and using their own resources to take advantage of them.”
For information leading up to Fields’ arrest, the FBI is offering a reward of up to $250,000. The reward was formerly $100,000. The amount was increased to help capture a fugitive from the Ten Most Wanted list.
In human trafficking, those who purchase sex or sexual material in-person or online are known as buyers.
“That's the other crime,” Nanette Ward, the founder and board trustee with the Central MO Stop Human Trafficking Coalition, said. “That's the other dark side that's not on an FBI Most Wanted top 10 list, but they are prolific in our communities as well.”
Sex trafficking of children is a global problem, Ward added, but it’s one happening locally, too.
“We have to take heed that it's something that's happened happening right here, locally,” Ward said.
The Missouri State Technical Assistance Team works statewide and with other agencies to protect Missouri children. The department in Jefferson City was one of the first to work on Donald Eugene Fields’ case before federal agents got involved.
“I try to tell people the boogeyman's not behind every tree,” Frank Tennant, the director of STAT said. “But the boogeyman's real, and he's out there.”
Both Tennant and Ward added that the internet plays a large part in these types of cases– and in human trafficking overall. Content posted online can become a money incentive for traffickers and predators.
In that same sense, it’s important for parents to talk to their kids about online safety Tennant said.
“You may just open the door for the boogeyman,” Tennant added. “Talk to your kids, know where your kids are, know what your kids are doing, know who your kids are talking to.”
More information and resources for any type of human trafficking can be found at the coalition’s website here. To request STAT help or investigation assistance, that can be found here.