James M. Begay, 30. Felony charges filed Aug. 22 include tampering with a global positioning system tracking device.

By Shereen Siewert

A sex offender who was the subject of a July 2019 manhunt after cutting off his GPS monitor for the third time is once again set for release in Wausau, according to police.

James M. Begay, 31, will reach his mandatory release date Nov. 10.

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, disappearing for a week before he was apprehended near downtown Wausau and returned to prison.

Then in July 2019 Wausau Police issued a news release seeking the public’s help locating Begay, who cut off his GPS monitor and vanished from his transitional housing location in the 600 block of Jefferson Street. He was captured early the next morning.

Begay’s probation was revoked and he was returned to prison. But a charge of tampering with a GPS device related to the incident remains open in Marathon County, with a court date of Oct. 23.

Upon release Begay will be placed in the intensive supervision program and is subject to GPS monitoring. His ongoing address will be updated and available online by accessing the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry at www.widocoffenders.org.