Turns Out “Missing” Main Line Man Was Just a Sex Offender in Hiding
The feds say Tim Dillon was living 2,000 miles away under an assumed name.
Back in 2019, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System issued a missing persons alert for Paoli’s Timothy Patrick Dillon, who was 25 at the time. Dillon had been living with his parents, who contacted their local police department after Dillon didn’t come home one night in 2019.
“Timothy is 5’5″ and weighs about 130 to 140 pounds, he has sandy color hair and hazel eyes,” read the bulletin. “Timothy left home for an appointment after dinner on August 27 and never returned home. His car was found a week later abandoned at the Paoli train station.”
The missing persons alert was accompanied by three photos of Dillon looking sweet as can be:
That alert was shared on Facebook as far away as New Mexico and Goose Creek, South Carolina. Strangers on social media expressed their well-wishes for Dillon and his family. “Prayer for a safe return,” wrote one woman on the Missing People in America Facebook page.
But it turns out that Dillon was a-okay. No harm had befallen him. He wasn’t missing so much as not wanting to be found.
You see, in 2017, the Department of Justice went after Dillon for possession of child pornography. Specifically, according to court documents, Dillon “knowingly possessed” a hard drive containing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Some of those minors were prepubescent and under the age of 12.
The case never went to trial.
Dillon’s family retained a private attorney who negotiated a plea deal for the 2012 Downingtown East grad. Dillon, who had no previous criminal record, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. In exchange for his plea, the court sentenced him to 21 months in federal prison followed by five years of probation. He was required to register as a sex offender with Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law registry, a list he would have to remain on for 15 years.
After Dillon was released from prison, his probation officer maintained regularly updated photos and other information about him on the state’s Megan’s Law website. The last Megan’s Law photo of Dillon was uploaded to the site on June 17, 2019.
Dillon’s probation officer visited his home for a scheduled check-in on August 17th of that year and told Dillon he’d be back on September 4th. But when the probation officer returned on September 4th, no Dillon. Not wasting any time, the probation officer filed a report in federal court on September 7th, and the judge issued an arrest warrant for Dillon.
He managed to remain under the radar for more than a year. But Dillon’s luck ran out on September 25, 2020. That’s when a police officer in tiny Evanston, Wyoming, found Dillon sitting in a car in a local park after closing hours.
According to court documents, Dillon “reacted nervously” to the cop’s presence, and the cop ran a background check on him, quickly finding the active federal warrant. Though Dillon apparently produced a driver’s license in his legal name, investigators say they soon learned that Dillon had been living under the assumed name of Ben Baxter in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was in Wyoming for a few days on a construction job.
Earlier this month, Dillon was transferred into federal custody in Philadelphia, where he remains incarcerated. He can add to his list of problems the fact that he’s now charged with another federal crime: failure to register as a sex offender, which he was required to do upon “relocating” to Utah. That crime carries with it a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
Dillon’s attorney declined to comment for this story.