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Registered sex offender arrested in Tonkawa


The following information is from the Tonkawa Police Department:


On Friday, Aug. 14, at approximately 1:03 a.m., Tonkawa Police Officers Cpl. Aaron Jones and Eric Daniel observed a person sleeping under the pavilion at Blinn Park, located in the 800 block of N. Main street in Tonkawa, OK. The officers wished to check the well-being of the person as sleeping in the park is a violation of City Ordinance. Upon making contact, the person was identified as 28-Year Old Joseph Michael Morrell of Kansas.

Morrell had hitchhiked into Tonkawa and stated that he had recently stayed in Blackwell, OK, and various other places within Kay County. During this encounter, Tonkawa Officers observed that Morrell appeared to be intoxicated. Morrell later admitted that he had consumed a bottle of liquor and smoked marijuana while at the park. Morrell stated that he had discarded the liquor bottle in a park trash can. Officers located the liquor bottle identified by Morrell. During a routine identification inquiry, the officers learned that Morrell was a registered sex offender with a last known registration from Kansas.

Morrell was arrested and transported to the Tonkawa Police Department to be booked into the Tonkawa Municipal Jail. Morrell had, in his possession, small pink in color “junior-style” socks and purple in color fingernail polish. According to the Probable Cause Affidavit, prepared by Tonkawa Officer Conner Bunney, during the booking process and while Morrell was confined in his jail cell, officers heard him singing and humming a collection of well-known children songs such as, “Ring Around the Rosie.” Morrell was interviewed and upon a brief investigation, it is alleged that Morrell may have been present in Blinn Park during a children’s birthday party on Thursday 08/13/2020. Evidence further suggests this as the recovered liquor bottle was found mixed in with the discarded birthday party foods and decorations. Police wish to request anyone that was present at the birthday party [Thursday] to contact the Tonkawa Police Department, at (580) 628-2516, to speak with investigators.

According to the affidavit, Morrell has an extensive history of sexual assault-related criminal activity; some of which involved children. Morrell was transported to the Kay County Detention Center based on district charges for Public Intoxication (MIS) and Violation of the Safe Zones as a Registered Sex Offender – Public Park/School/Daycare (FEL). Tonkawa Police are cooperating with Kansas Law Enforcement Officials and the United States Marshals Service to see if federal charges may be filed on Morrell, in the future.

Morrell has been formally charged but is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.