By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — A Wausau sex offender who cut off his GPS monitoring bracelet for the third time Tuesday is back in custody, police said early Wednesday.

Wausau Police on Tuesday issued a news release seeking the public’s help locating James Begay, 30, who cut off his GPS monitor this week and vanished from his transitional housing location in the 600 block of Jefferson Street. The department posted an update on Facebook in the early morning hours of July 17 thanking the public for tips in the search for Begay.

Begay has a long criminal history dating back to October 2005, when he was convicted of raping a 10-year-old child. Because Begay was 16 when he was convicted, he was under the supervision of the Wisconsin Division of Juvenile Corrections in 2010 when he cut off his ankle monitor and sexually assaulted a 19-year-old Wausau woman on the city’s west side.

After his escape in 2010, Begay, then 21, approached a 19-year-old woman in the 700 block of Werle Avenue who was letting her dog out and asked the woman for a cigarette. Court records show Begay then pulled a knife, grabbed the woman around the throat, told her he would kill her if she didn’t stay quiet, dragged her into a neighbor’s yard and assaulted her. The victim told police Begay was about to rape her when a motion-activated yard light scared him away. His discarded ankle monitor was discovered in an alley, according to past media reports, and Begay was captured hours later.

The victim identified Begay from a photo lineup and DNA evidence confirmed Begay was the woman’s attacker. He served five years in prison for the assault before reaching his mandatory release date in 2015.

But months later, in January 2016, Begay cut off his monitor again, this time disappearing for a week before he was apprehended near downtown Wausau.

Additional charges are pending against Begay, who is being held in the Marathon County Jail.