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Published September 17 2007

Authorities say Wisconsin fugitive arrested at pen pal's ND home

BISMARCK, N.D. - A convicted child sex offender from Wisconsin was traced to a south central North Dakota town after he left a forwarding address, and was found hiding in blankets at the home of a pen pal, officials say.

Timothy Welch is jailed in Bismarck awaiting extradition, McIntosh County Deputy Sheriff Gerard Zlotkowski said Monday.

Welch, 40, of Kenosha, Wis., was arrested on Sept. 4, at the home of Julie Jaszczenski, 43, of Ashley, the deputy sheriff said.

"Mr. Welch was hiding in an upstairs bedroom in some bedding," Zlotkowski said. "He was trying to disguise himself as a pile of blankets."

Welch and Jaszczenski had been pen pals for more than two years, Zlotkowski said.

The two were introduced by Jaszczenski's former foster son, who "was doing time in Wisconsin with Mr. Welch," Zlotkowski said.

No children were living in Jaszczenski's home at the time Welch was there, Zlotkowski said. Jaszczenski provided Welch with money, a vehicle and a place to stay, he said.

Welch recently was released from a Wisconsin prison after serving 10 years for soliciting a child for prostitution and child enticement, Zlotkowski said. He had been working as a forklift operator in Wisconsin under court-ordered supervised probation, the deputy sheriff said.

Ashley Police Chief Bob Roggenbuck said Welch's probation officer in Wisconsin suspected he was Ashley after Welch left a forwarding post office box address for the town of about 880 people, which is near the South Dakota border.

Welch cut off an electronic monitoring bracelet before leaving Wisconsin; it has not been recovered, Zlotkowski said. Authorities believe Welch had been in Ashley since Aug. 26.

"He is not fighting extradition," Zlotkowski said.

Zlotkowski said Welch faces eight more in prison for violating his probation, which bars him from driving or leaving Wisconsin.

"The investigation is continuing," Zlotkowski said.