JACKSONVILLE, NC (WWAY) — Little Footsteps Child Care, a Jacksonville day care, is on the radar after a homeless sex offender used his brother’s address as his own mailing address.
Anise Dowell, 18, allegedly told police his brother’s home was where they could send his mail.
The homeowner, Pete Dowell, says he took care of his younger, adopted, brother like he was his own son growing up. He says after their relationship took a turn for the worse this year, his family no longer associates with Anise.
Since a young age, the Dowell family says they always knew something was off with Anise, but he always had structure in his life, which kept him in line. When Anise turned 18, he enlisted in the military.
“We figured going into the military and having structure would help him even out, obviously it didn’t work,” Pete said.
Anise was kicked out of boot camp according to his brother. When Anise called his mother to come home after being released, in the beginning of this year, she said no, leaving him homeless.
The Dowell family says in January, Anise ended up in jail, after having inappropriate contact with a 14-year-old girl.
Last Wednesday, Pete got a knock on his door from an Onslow County detective looking for his younger brother.
“We even asked him what he was here looking for Anise, ’cause we have nothing to do with him,” Pete said.
Anise neglected to register as a sex offender after getting out of jail.
“There is no sex offender at this house. My brother has never lived here. He’s never had this as his address with our permission,” Pete said.
According to the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, Anise has used his brother’s address three times since March.
Pete’s wife, Michelle, has operated Little Footsteps Child Care from their Jacksonville home for 13 years.
Pete and his wife said as soon as the Department of Health and Human Services was notified a sex offender could possibly be living with them, the Division of Child Development and Education came to investigate.
“She’s taking care of other people’s children and she’s being investigated for harboring a sex offender,” Pete said. “It’s just very stressful to have somebody accuse you of doing something wrong like that. My wife loves children; that’s why she’s in this business.”
Pete says he has no idea where his brother is staying, or what he is doing.
“I pray every day that he will get help and I can be a part of his life again,” Pete said.
Dowell says that if the county can send a detective out to a home to look for a criminal, they should also be able to send one out to make sure that criminal can stay at that home, or at least use it as a mailing address.
He also said the Division of Child Development and Education told his wife that it would be back to check on the residence multiple times to ensure Anise is not a resident at their home.