Danedri Thompson
Although there are thousands of warrants issued in Johnson County each year, it takes a special set of circumstances for an alleged criminal to be placed on the county sheriff’s Most Wanted list.
Deputy Tom Erickson, public information officer with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, said there are in the neighborhood of 10,000 warrants issued each year and between 6,000 and 8,000 served. Of those, there are only seven people listed on the Most Wanted list. Of those, several have been featured on the notorious list for years.
“Most of them are rape or aggravated battery or assault cases,” Erickson said.
There’s also a fugitive on the list for felony bad checks.
“He’s run some kinds of scams and things throughout the years,” Erickson explained.
Erickson said warrant supervisors are responsible for adding people to the list.
“It’s people that they have deemed they want – they’re people we’re looking for,” Erickson said.
Officers suspect that some are in the area, while others, they believe, have fled the country. Steven Tatley is one example.
The 6-foot-2-inch, 164-pound white male is wanted for sexual exploitation of a child and has been on the list since 2009. According to the list, Tatley is in South Africa.
“We know he’s there,” Erickson said. “But he’s still one of our most wanted people.”
Investigators suspected he’d fled the country after conducting interviews while searching for him. Their suspicions were confirmed by information on Tatley’s Facebook page.
Using the Internet – including posting a Most Wanted List on the sheriff’s office website – is a key element in tracking down fugitives, Erickson said.
“The list is just one part of the puzzle of how we go about putting information out on people that we want in cases,” the deputy said. “One of our best forms of communication for reaching out is the Internet.”
They also use CrimeStoppers and KC Most Wanted Newspaper.
“About anywhere we can profile people for different reasons,” Erickson said.
When those wanted on warrants are finally tracked down, it’s usually doesn’t look like it does on television.
“A lot of people probably think of kicking in doors and running in and apprehending them,” he explained. “But most warrants are not served in that fashion.”
Instead, police apprehend people with warrants at traffic stops. For example, a driver is pulled over for speeding in Kansas City, Mo. When officers run their driver’s license, the system returns information that there is a warrant for the driver’s arrest in Johnson County.
The offender will be arrested and Johnson County officers will escort the driver back to Johnson County and serve the warrant peacefully. They’ll also conduct warrant arrests at the courthouse when the someone comes to court for an unrelated case.
“Beyond that, we take them – sometimes as information comes in on people or we develop leads as to where they are,” Erickson said.
Even those warrants are often served peacefully, he said. Officers will track them down at their workplace or homes.
Door-kicking-type warrant serving is rarely used.
“Those are really reserved for people that are violent or people we expect would provide a considerable amount of resistance to us,” Erickson explained.
Most warrants are issued for minor infractions like failure to appear in court on a traffic violation, Erickson said.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for serving warrants from the Johnson County District Court.
“They miss a court date. They didn’t report for probation,” Erickson said. “It really runs the gamut from someone failed to pay a fine or someone failed to pay a traffic ticket to probable cause warrants for murder.”
Although the majority of Johnson County warrants aren’t issued to violent offenders, Erickson said anyone who sees someone from the Most Wanted List should not attempt to stop them.
“We obviously don’t want anybody to approach any of these folks. Call 911 or let their local police departments know and let them handle it,” he said.
On the list:

Marco A. Hernandez

Marco Hernandez
Age: 29
Race: Hispanic
Height: 5’08”
Weight: 175 lbs
Wanted: Failure to appear for possession with intent to sell cocaine near a school and no drug tax stamp
Last known location: Olathe

Richard W. King

Richard King
Age: 43
Race: Black
Height: 5’05”
Weight: 155 lbs
Wanted: Failure to appear on felony violation of check charges
Last known location: Unknown

Steven Tatley

Steven Tatley
Age: 42
Race: White
Height: 6’02”
Weight: 164 lbs
Wanted: Felony sexual exploitation of a child
Last known location: South Africa

Jose Cruz Torres

Jose Cruz Torres
Age: 32
Race: White
Height: 5’06”
Weight: 140 lbs
Wanted: Rape and aggravated assault
Last known location: Lenexa, Kan. area

David Vasquez

David Fuentes Vasquez
Age: 32
Race: White
Height: 5’06”
Weight: 140 lbs
Identifying marks: Scar on left arm
Wanted: Probation violation on two counts aggravated assault
Last known location: Kansas City, Kan. area

Javier Vazquez

Javier M. Vasquez
Age: 45
Race: White
Height: 6’
Weight: 220 lbs.
Wanted: Failure to appear on rape
Last known location: Kansas City, Kan. area

Rudolfo Zamundio-Gonzales

Rudolfo Zamundio-Gonzalez
Age: 26
Race: Hispanic
Height: 5’09”
Weight: 210 lbs
Wanted: Rape and aggravated burglary
Last known location: Shawnee, Kan.