Escaped sexual predator arrested in Florida

Sunday, October 26, 2003

ST. LOUIS -- Katia Stocksdale-Davis knew something wasn't right when her dream husband kept pacing and drawing the blinds in their Florida beach-front home. Then, she started asking questions.

"I'd say, 'What, do you have an underground life? Are you a secret spy?'" said Stocksdale-Davis, 44. "I'd play with him and say, 'Dave, quit pacing back and forth. What, were you in prison?'"

On Friday, her questions were answered, but not by the man she had known as Dave Davis.

Her husband was arrested Thursday night, and the FBI confirmed Friday his fingerprint matched that of Thomas J. Ingrassia, a convicted sexual predator who escaped from the Southeast Missouri Mental Health Center in Farmington in October 2001.

The 47-year-old man was arrested in Treasure Island, Fla., while he was returning home from his construction job. He was held without bond Friday in the Pinellas County, Fla., jail, awaiting extradition to Missouri.

Treasure Island police Sgt. Dan Morton said the man claimed he was not Ingrassia.

"When confronted with the fingerprints, proving he was Ingrassia, he still said he was David Davis," Morton said.

Stocksdale-Davis' husband is charged with escape from confinement and damaging a fence. He also is charged in Florida with giving a false name and obtaining a fraudulent state driver's license.

Through some clever investigative work the past few weeks, Stocksdale-Davis and her ex-husband, Mark Stocksdale, pieced together a background that seemed questionable. Stocksdale, a modular-home salesman in North Carolina, used a credit report and dead-ending Internet searches to come to the assumption that Dave Davis was a bogus name.

Stumbled on wanted list

Then one of Stocksdale's co-workers stumbled upon a Web site listing Missouri's top 10 fugitives, including a mug shot of David Davis that seemed to resemble Stocksdale-Davis' husband.

Stocksdale-Davis said she was shocked at the prospect her husband had a notorious past.

"To me, I can't even picture him hurting anyone in a million years," she told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

She saw him as a sensitive and "spiritual" man when she fell in love last summer, but he suddenly became possessive and abusive.

She eventually found clues, including a bus ticket stub from St. Louis to Florida, that her husband might not be the man she thought he was.

Stocksdale-Davis said the two met outside a Walgreen's last summer and they were married by December. The man she married introduced himself as a former boxer who had been invited to the Olympic pretrials when he was a Marine.

"He was like the sweetest guy," she said. "All my friends thought I was crazy for marrying him."

Stocksdale said he had to try repeatedly to get police interested in what he had found. He said neither local police in Florida nor the St. Louis city police took him seriously at first.

Ingrassia served 18 months in prison for a rape in 1975, then he served 17 years of a 25-year sentence for later sexual attacks on three women in December 1977 and April and May 1978. After stalking a woman two years after being paroled, he was confined in April 2001 under a new civil commitment law intended to prevent repeat crimes.

Despite Ingrassia's list of convictions, Stocksdale-Davis said she intended to help get a lawyer for the man she still calls Dave.

"I really do love him," she sobbed.

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