Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Forty-six- year-old Noble "Rick" Pendland disappeared as Arkansas City authorities attempted to talk to him about recent child molestation accusations. Meanwhile, a local couple says the man never should have been allowed to be around children.
Pendland has worked around children for a number of years and authorities even tell us they're concerned he will seek employment in the teaching or foster care field somewhere else.
Wendell and Ruby Turner knew Pendland through both of those means. Today, they told KAKE News they're not surprised at these recent developments.
The Turner's first met Pendland when he became their grandson's teacher at Hamilton Middle School in Wichita. Pendland worked there until 2008. USD 259 confirms Pendland left the district citing family relocation to Arkansas City.
"Me and Ruby both, we right away suspected this guy wasn't on the up and up when we first met him," said Wendell Turner.
The Turners became skeptical of Pendland when he not only started offering to take the children to the swimming pool, but then started driving by their house.
"He lived in Rose Hill and he would drive by," Turner explained. "It was out of his way to come by here. He would drive by real slow to see what was going on. We would get calls and he would want to come get them (the children) and go swimming. We wouldn't let him because we were a little bit suspicious of him."
Pendland worked at Hamilton starting in 2003. USD 259 says they had no problems and no complaints, but that Pendland left the district in 2008 citing a family relocation to Arkansas City. Pendland also became a licensed foster parent through the Youthville program.
Turner, however, complains that the Youthville background checks are worthless.
"They're not good," he said. "I don't know about the school district, but Youthville's are not worth a plugged nickel. I'm sure they go in there and check to see if you've been involved in a hold up or killed somebody... but as far as people go... just terrible."
The Turners became very concerned when their grandchildren's parents split up and the kids ended up in the Youthville organization.
"I asked, 'Well who is going to have custody of them?' and she said that teacher. Well, that's the teacher that's now in the news."
Ultimately, the grandchildren did not end up with Pendland and they say they are thankful for that.
Authorities in Ark City now are focusing on getting in touch with him to talk to him about the current child molestation cases he's accused of. But Ark City Police also say they are not even getting cooperation from Pendland's family.
If you know his whereabouts, call Ark City Crime Stoppers at 620-442-7777.