Convicted Toledo serial killer can live close to school

Published: Mar. 1, 2019 at 5:49 PM EST
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One of the men part of what some would call Toledo's most notorious serial killers is now listed as a sex offender. He’s living within 1000 feet of a Toledo school. And it's totally legal.

Viewers have wanted to know how Nathaniel Cook could be so close to a school. Now the 13abc I-Team is getting those neighbors some answers.

It's probably not an answer some will want to hear but Cook is completely legal where he is living today.

For his part in several murders and sexual assaults in the 80s, Cook only received a 20-year sentence in 2000 as part of a plea deal. After detailing the attacks, prosecutors agreed to the shorter sentence for Cook.

He got out last year and moved to Central Avenue near Collingwood in Toledo which is right near the Old West End Academy.

We mapped it and from the center of his home to the center of the school, it's 694 feet. People living nearby have noticed and they're worried he's too close to the school.

"In their minds, wait a minute, a sex offender within 1000 feet of a school there's got to be a rule on this without checking. They'll go right into panic mode,” said Detective Ron Schermerhorn of the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office.

According to Detective Schermerhorn, Cook is doing nothing illegal.

Cook is a registered sex offender but because his crime occurred before July of 2003, he does not need to be 1000 feet from a school.

"He knows the rules. He knows where he can be and where he can't be. At this point he is not in violation of any laws,” said Schermerhorn.

So while most people are familiar with the 1000 foot rule, it doesn't apply to everyone on the sex offender list. Something most people are not familiar with. Lucas Count deputies are aware of Cook, they have investigated and all laws are being followed. Deputies will keep an eye on that case and any others brought to their attention.

"We definitely need to find out where these people are, where they're going and where they've been," said Schermerhorn.

Tracking sex offenders in the county can be a tough job at time. There are over 800 sex offenders in the county and only one full time deputy assigned to monitoring them.