The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 31, 2013

Wanted predatory offender arrested near Fairfax

Child molester recently released from prison, living in northern Minnesota

By Dan Nienaber

---- — FAIRFAX — A level 3 predatory offender who has been on the Minnesota Department of Corrections wanted list since July 21 was apprehended Tuesday night in Nicollet County.

Tips from the public led authorities to Rommel Heinrich Fritz, 52, a DOC news release said. He was found and arrested without incident at a remote campsite near Fairfax at 7:25 p.m. An earlier DOC release that said Fritz was found at Fort Ridgely State Park was incorrect.

John Schadl, DOC spokesman, said Fritz was arrested without incident. "When he saw them drive up, he just walked up and turned himself in," he said.

A warrant was issued for Fritz's arrest after he failed to check in with his supervising corrections agent. He had been released from the Rush City prison in June after serving 12 years of a 20-year prison sentence for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl he didn't know and sexually assaulting younger victims that he did know in Pine County.

After being released from prison, Fritz was placed on intense supervised release. He had been living at a rural residence off Highway 23 near Sandstone, which is about 65 miles south of Duluth. The warrant was issued for Fritz's arrest after the corrections agent he was supposed to meet with checked Fritz's residence and discovered he wasn't there.

Schadl said authorities do not want to say if they received the tips from citizens in the Sandstone area or the Fairfax area. A court hearing will take place within 10 days to determine if Fritz remains on probation or is returned to prison, Schadl said. He will remain on supervised release for the rest of his life.

*The Department of Corrections corrected an earlier version of its news release that said Fritz had been located at Fort Ridgely State Park. Fritz was not staying at the park.