Released 3 days earlier, sex offender arrested again after incident with child, 12

TWENTYNINE PALMS — A convicted kidnapper and sex offender who had just been released from custody March 28, was arrested again early Sunday evening, March 31.

The man was arrested after he allegedly tried to break into a Twentynine Palms home, where a terrified 12-year-old girl was inside the home alone at the time, according to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. The girl called her parents, who called 911 to report the incident, said officials.


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After an investigation, deputies arrested Steven Thomas McLaughlin, 31. He was later booked into West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga on suspicion of attempted burglary, failure to register as a sex offender, and violation of parole. Jail records indicate he remains in custody without bail and is scheduled to appear in court April 3.

San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies responded to the rural, desert property in the 75900 block of Amboy Rd., between Singing Sands and Bullion Mountain roads, in San Bernardino County, after the child’s parents called 911 to report that their child had seen a man wandering through their property.

Although deputies were initially unable to find anyone on the property they found McLaughlin about an hour later, near Amboy and Mojave roads, according to sheriff’s officials. Jail records indicated he was arrested around 5:30 p.m.

A sheriff’s spokesperson later told KESQ News that McLaughlin had been released from jail just three days before this most recent arrest. During their investigation, deputies learned McLaughlin was on parole for kidnapping and was a registered sex offender. They also learned the convicted felon was wanted for parole violation for failing to register as a local sex offender.

Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.


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