Fontana disappeared from his residence at 1305 Green Acres Avenue in Fort Walton Beach after finding out that the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office was conducting an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Fontana with minor children. Fontana’s whereabouts were unknown until this afternoon, when he was arrested by the U.S. Marshal’s Service in the Dominican Republic.
Joseph Christian Fontana was profiled in April 2009 on the television show “America’s Most Wanted”. The show aired in the Dominican Republic as well, due to suspicions of Fontana being in that area.
In late April 2009, a tip was received through “America’s Most Wanted” and forwarded to investigators at the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office. The tip gave a specific address for Fontana in the Dominican Republic.
Due to Fontana being out of the country, the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office submitted the case to the U.S. Marshal’s Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force and requested their assistance in tracking down and apprehending Fontana.
The information was given to the U.S. Marshal’s Foreign Field Office in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in an attempt to locate and apprehend Fontana. At approximately 1600 hours central time, U.S. Marshal’s, with the assistance of law enforcement in the Dominican Republic, took Fontana into custody.
From 2001 until 2006 when he fled, Fontana had been visiting with a single mother and her three children in their home. He met the latest victim’s mother at a local church and he eventually committed offenses against her children.
A 4 month investigation into the activities of Fontana, a Registered Sex Offender, resulted in a warrant being issued for his arrest.Fontana has been arrested involving crimes against children 3 times in the past. Fontana was convicted in 1995 of lewd & lascivious behavior with male child less than 16 years of age.
Fontana was known to prey on single women who have young male children. The initial investigation was a collaborative effort involving the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, and The Department of Children and Families. Fontana’s also currently has 1 warrant in Okaloosa County.
The 1 warrant in Santa Rosa County is for the following charges: 25 Counts of Sexual Assault on a victim over 12, 25 Counts of Lewd & Lascivious behavior (conduct by persons 18 or older), 25 counts of Lewd & Lascivious behavior (exhibit by persons 18 or older victim less than 16), and 1 count of showing obscene material to a child. Fontana is being held in the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s in the Dominican Republic. It is currently not known as to when his extradition will occur. Further information will be released as it becomes available.
The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office would like to offer their sincere gratitude to both “America’s Most Wanted” and the USMS for their diligent efforts in locating and apprehending Joseph Fontana.