Accused sex offender due in court

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, June 1, 2016

VIDALIA — A Natchez man accused in five Miss-Lou sexual crimes involving juveniles has until Thursday to show up to the Concordia Parish courthouse in connection with three of his charges.

Michael A. Bumgarner, 39, 28 Alexander Road, Natchez, did not show up for his felony arraignment court date this past Wednesday evening, and Seventh Judicial District Judge John Reeves executed a warrant for his arrest. However, on Thursday, after speaking with Bumgarner’s attorney, Philip LeTard of Vidalia, Reeves put the warrant on hold.

Seventh Judicial District Attorney Brad Burget said the court knew LeTard would not be able to make it to court Wednesday due to a medical issue, however Bumgarner was still supposed to show up.

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Burget said Bumgarner has been given until Thursday to show up because his lawyer did not properly communicate to the suspect he was supposed to be in court this past week.

A mother of one of the victims, who declined to be named due to fears of identifying her child, said she didn’t think it was right a man with a bond in two states would be given this opportunity.

“It’s unbelievable the judge allowed a week to get back or escape,” she said. “It sounds like special treatment to me.”

She said last she heard, Bumgarner was heading to California.

“There are rumors from family that he isn’t coming back, but I guess we’ll see on Thursday,” she said. “We are starting to feel let down by our justice system.”

A call to LeTard’s office was not returned.

Reeves would not comment on the Bumgarner case, with his office citing Louisiana code that prohibited him from speaking to the press about ongoing cases.

One victim came forward in March, and during the investigation, Vidalia Police Department Investigator Miranda Clifton reportedly linked Bumgarner to two other incidents. All three victims were juveniles at the time of the alleged incidents.

The first third-degree rape charge is connected to a reported incident from 2004 involving a victim who was 15 at the time. The sexual battery charge stems from a 2005 incident allegedly involving a 9-year-old victim. In 2009, Bumgarner is alleged to have committed third-degree rape on a 14-year-old victim.

In April, Bumgarner was arrested twice by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office and charged first with felony molesting of a child and later in the month with touching a child for lustful purposes.