Sex Offender Allegedly Faked His Own Death to Avoid Registry, Assumed New Identity with Ariz. Family: Police

Benjamin Hollins, 50, was arrested in Arizona and booked into Pinal County Detention Center

<p>Pinal County Sheriff

Pinal County Sheriff's Office

Benjamin Hollins, 50, was arrested Tuesday, May 14.

The woman told authorities that she had seen the convicted sex offender, Benjamin Hollins, jump to his death off Theodore Roosevelt Lake Bridge.

Arizona authorities searched the dam just below it in October 2023. But they never found a body.

Then on Tuesday, May 14, authorities arrested Hollins, now 50 and very much alive, on a slew of charges connected to what authorities allege was an elaborate attempt to elude Arizona’s sex offender registry.

Hollins is charged with failure to confirm identification as a sex offender, failure to provide change of name and address as a sex offender, failure to appear in court and two counts of a probation violation, as well as two counts of driving with a license that is suspended, revoked or canceled, according to his online inmate details cataloged by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

“He was a little bit surprised to see us,” Sheriff Mark Lamb says in a video statement announcing the arrest.

<p>Pinal County Sheriff's Office</p> Benjamin Hollins in mugshot, Tuesday, May 14, 2024.

Pinal County Sheriff's Office

Benjamin Hollins in mugshot, Tuesday, May 14, 2024.

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Hollins was first convicted as a sex offender in California more than 20 years ago, according to the sheriff’s office.

He eventually moved to Arizona City – where by 2018 he was not registered as a sex offender – and he was ultimately hired as a behavioral health counselor.

There, preying on a 16-year-old client, Hollins kidnapped and attempted to molest the teen, per the sheriff's office. He later pleaded guilty in the case in exchange for supervised probation. As part of his sentencing, he was required to annually register as a sex offender, according to the sheriff’s office.

Instead, authorities allege, he convinced a woman to file a false report in order to fake his own death in 2023.

“Now a lot of resources were wasted looking for his body, which was clearly not found because he wasn't dead,” Sheriff Lamb says in his recorded statement.

Using air quotes, Lamb says that with Hollins “dead,” his sex offender registration naturally lapsed.

Believing that Hollins was still alive, on Tuesday, Chandler Police detectives tracked him down to a home in Mesa, Ariz., where he was allegedly living under a fake name with a family with young children, per the sheriff’s office, which said the family “had no idea about his history.”

SWAT team members arrested him, booking the sex offender into the Pinal County Detention Center later that day.

“Nice try, Benjamin,” Lamb says in the video statement. “We found you: you're not dead. We're gonna hold you accountable.”

Hollins is set to appear in court May 21, according to the sheriff’s office.

PEOPLE called Pinal County Superior Court to confirm. A clerk there said a case number had not yet been assigned.

It was not clear if Hollins has yet retained a lawyer.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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