Editor's note: The Columbus Telegram first published information about Voecks' apprehension Tuesday morning on its website. This is a full story making its debut in today's print edition.
For more than a year, numerous flyers plastered with Joseph Voecks’ face have been seen around town at various businesses and inside the Columbus Police Department.
After being reported missing by family on Jan. 14, 2018, it was presumed by his family that he would never be found or that he was dead.
But on Monday, Columbus native Amber Garrett learned that her 22-year-old son was found and apprehended by the United States Marshals Service in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Nebraska State Patrol made an announcement about it on Tuesday morning.
“It felt like a big brick being lifted off of my shoulders, and then when I learned that he had been running from law enforcement, I became angry,” Garrett told The Telegram. “I’m still angry with him, but I also have a lot of things that I need to get off my chest with my son. I will always love him, but the decisions he made – he’s an adult and he will have to deal with them on his own.”
The decisions Garrett referred to are involving two felony warrants issued for his arrest out of Nance and Platte counties. The Nance County warrant alleges criminal attempt of the Class III felony, and the Platte County warrant involves the lone charge of first-degree sexual assault of a child.
Garrett said that she was aware of the Nance County warrant, however, she said she didn't know anything about the Platte County charge.
“I have no idea when that was issued,” she said of the Platte County warrant regarding the alleged sexual assault. “Whether before or after his disappearance, I don’t see my son doing that. But, he was involved with drugs so it could be … I just don’t know if he did that. But, it makes him look guilty that he ran. I’m not going to beat around the bush.”
Voecks, 22, was taken into custody by U.S. Marshal's Service agents on Monday. Leading up to his arrest, investigators with the Nebraska State Patrol had been following numerous leads since he was reported missing last year, according to released information from the NSP.
The U.S. Marshal's Service office in Sioux City, Iowa, was contacted, and with the assistance from the U.S. Marshal's offices out of Omaha and Denver, Voecks was located Monday in Colorado and arrested on the two warrants.
As of Tuesday, Voecks was in custody in Colorado awaiting extradition to Nebraska. Garrett said that she was told Monday evening that the extradition time frame was dependent on whether her son fought extradition.
“He would still get extradited, but it would just be more time before he comes back to Nebraska,” Garrett said of if her son fights returning to the state.
Garrett said that it was her understanding that Voecks had been staying with a step-family member who lives in Colorado Springs. She said that she had made previous contact with the person and that person denied any involvement with harboring him.
“I asked (him or her) several times and (he or she) just flat out lied,” Garrett said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Garrett said she still hadn’t spoken to her son. Although upset, she is ready to hear his voice.
“I was kind of hoping he would call me when he got booked in Colorado Springs, but he didn’t,” she said of Voecks, who also has a 2-year-old daughter in Columbus. “I’m sure he knows that I’m very upset with him. I love my son, but he ran from his family, ran from his problems and put his family through all this for the past year.”
Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.