Dec 27, 2011

The Indiana trailer park that was home to 9-year-old Aliahna Lemmon — whose dismembered body was found this week — is also home to an extraordinary number of registered sex offenders, police and court records show.

An affidavit filed Tuesday by Allen County sheriff's investigators said Michael Len Plumadore, 39, of the Northway Woods trailer park in Fort Wayne, confessed to having killed and dismembered Aliahna on Friday. Her head, hands and feet were found in a freezer in Plumadore's home; the rest of her body was scattered elsewhere in the area.

Plumadore was held without bail Tuesday pending formal charges.

Plumadore lives in the same trailer park as Aliahna — who a relative said was partly blind and deaf — and her two younger sisters, and he often baby-sat for them. The girls had been staying with Plumadore for about a week because their mother was ill.

The nature of Aliahna's death would meet the definition of a sex offense under Indiana Code 35, which includes the state's version of Megan's Law, a national template for registering and monitoring known sex offenders.

Plumadore isn't on Allen County's registry — court records show only convictions for trespassing, assault and auto theft in Florida and North Carolina.

But Northway Woods is one of an increasing number of isolated locations around the country that have become havens for registered sex offenders, who in most states must not live within a certain distance of places where children congregate, such as schools and churches.

The Allen County sheriff's registry shows that 15 sex offenders live at Northway Woods, a small mobile home park with 54 lots, only about 25 of which are occupied. Among them are men with multiple felony convictions for sexual abuse of a minor and child molestation.

In other words, three-fifths of the occupied units there house a registered sex offender. That's an extraordinary concentration in Indiana, which has only 137 registered sex offenders per 100,000 population — the third-lowest figure of all 50 states, according to data compiled by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Seven other registered offenders live within 2 miles of the trailer park, the registry shows — meaning nearly 5 percent of all of the county's 537 registered sex offenders live within a short walk of one another.

"You see it on TV all the time in other states, in other places, but this is in our own backyard," said Kathleen McKee, who lives in the Northway Woods park. "It's in our own home, and it's scary."

"I feel for the family, because I have three children myself — two daughters and a son," McKee told NBC station WISE of Fort Wayne. "I can't imagine what that family is feeling, especially around Christmas time."

Before he was arrested, Plumadore gave a brief interview Monday morning to WISE. The station hasn't aired the interview, which could be used as evidence in the case, but it reported that Plumadore said he was going in to take a polygraph test and that he, too, was eager to find Aliahna.

WISE constructed and aired this timeline of the hours leading up to Plumadore's arrest:

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