There are more than 300,000 open arrest warrants in the state of Ohio.

Many cases stay open for years and are forgotten as the state's criminal justice system struggles to keep up with the thousands of new warrants filed each day.

Among these are thousands of warrants filed for violent crimes, and when these warrants remain unserved the suspects linger on the streets, increasing the risk of someone else being harmed or killed. Law enforcement officials across the nation said this is their biggest fear when they don't have the resources to track someone down.

In Ohio, arrest warrants, including the ones for violent crime, aren't entered into statewide or national databases, meaning that if police encounter a fugitive, they may not even know they are wanted. 

Steeg and Diane Hertz of Springfield, Ohio, parents of, David, 37, who was killed in a 2014 wreck. The other driver, Juan Ruiz, was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, but he posted bail and became a fugitive, and is believed to have returned to Mexico, where he is a citizen. There's a warrant for his arrest. If he's ever located, “I would tell him he ripped a hole into our family,” said Steeg Hertz, 76.
Columbus Division of Police officer James Walker calls in information for a "50" - the 10 code for a wanted person - over the radio after filing an arrest warrant for Jonovan Meek, who was wanted on suspicion of domestic violence, at the Franklin County Municipal Clerk of Courts in Columbus, Ohio. Walker hoped to arrest Meek that night, but couldn't find another officer to provide back-up before his shift ended.
Franklin County Sheriff's Office SWAT officer Nate Chalfant peers through a small window in a door to see if anyone is home while serving an arrest warrant with SWAT officer Kevin Christie, left. Often when serving warrants, officers spend more time looking for suspects then making arrests, mostly due to outdated information on the arrest warrant.
Mariam El-Shamaa was a graduate student at Ohio State University when she was attacked by a man with a knife in 2002. She wasn't aware that Weicheng Yen, who had been indicted on a felonious assault charge in her case, still had not faced justice when contacted.
Crisha Wallace begins to cry as she reads from a worksheet that she completed about her arrest during a meeting with her probation officer. Arrested previously on charges of forgery, Wallace was searched in jail after her arrest and was found with a bottle of someone else's urine in case of a drug test. During this meeting, Wallace's probation officer urged her to get into drug treatment before their next meeting. Wallace would skip that meeting and another warrant would be issued for her arrest.
U.S. Marshals question Andrew Green after he answered the door at a home in Columbus where they were serving an arrest warrant for a different individual. After questioning, the marshals discovered that Green was wanted on a felony escape warrant after leaving a halfway house in June. He was arrested.
Dante Williams was pulled over in his white Chevrolet Malibu, seen here, for a non-functioning headlight, and was arrested after the officer ran his name and found that he had three outstanding warrants for minor traffic violations. One warrant was for a failure to pay $120 in court costs for one of these previous traffic infractions. He spent three days in the Franklin County Jail after his arrest before the charges on all previous outstanding warrants were dismissed. During his stay in jail, someone broke into his food trailer parked at his home and stole a generator used for his business.
A U.S. Marshal holds position outside a window as they serve an arrest warrant at an apartment building for aggravated burglary suspect Hassan Hassan.
A United States Marshal places a shirt on Hassan Hassan, center, after his arrest. Agents woke him up while serving the warrant that morning and brought out clothes and water for him after he was detained without incident.
A Columbus Division of Police SWAT team arrest individuals on suspicion of running a theft ring after executing a search warrant at Trinity Square Apartments in Columbus, Ohio.
A small Lego police officer figurine hangs from the body armor of a U.S. Marshal. He wears it so that children he encounters while working notice the toy and are less intimidated.
Bail agent Larry Garrett talks with a woman outside her residence as they search for Sheldon Curry, who skipped bond on a drug charge. Curry was spotted about an hour earlier at the woman's house but wasn't there when agents attempted to apprehend him, apparently tipped off at the agents' arrest attempt.
Hakeem O. Johnston, 25, right, of Franklinton, looks back as Windolyn Young, a family member of Laquam Gratsy, reads a victim impact statement from Gratsy's mother, Maria Alvarez, during Johnston's sentencing hearing at the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in Columbus, Ohio. Johnston was given a life sentence for the January 2017 murder of Laquam Gratsy. Seven weeks before the murder, a warrant had been filed for Johnston because he had violated probation on a 2015 gun-related conviction by possessing another gun.
"I never see his smile or hear his voice and that's the same thing I want from you; never to hear your voice, never to see your face, or to even hear your name," reads part of the victim impact statement from Maria Alvarez to Hakeem O. Johnston, who was convicted of murdering her son, Laquam Gratsy.
An angel statue keeps watch over Jenny Blake's grave at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Pataskala. In 2011, Blake, a 28-year-old mother of three, was kidnapped by her husband, Jack Blake Jr., 32, and he eventually was indicted 16 days after the incident. Fourteen days after the indictment, law enforcement had not yet arrested Jack Blake for the kidnapping charge when he killed Jenny in front of their Columbus home, then died by suicide hours later.

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