Fugitive wanted for 2018 child sex assault in Plainfield apprehended in Tennessee

A fugitive wanted for allegedly sexually assaulting a child in Plainfield the summer before last has been located and apprehended following an intensive multi-state search, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Plainfield Police Director Lisa Burgess jointly announced Wednesday.

Jose A. Donis, 53, with a last known address on the 900 block of West Third Street in Plainfield, was taken into custody by members of the U.S. Marshals Service Tuesday evening in the Whispering Hills neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee.

A joint investigation by the Plainfield Police Division and the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) revealed that the alleged sexual abuse took place from early June to late September 2018, when the victim was on summer vacation and the defendant rented a room in the building in which she lived, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen Dillon, who is prosecuting the case.

In June 2020, Donis was criminally charged with second-degree sexual assault of a child under the age of 13 and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child. He remained at large until investigators acting on a tip arrested him; he will remain in custody in Tennessee pending extradition to New Jersey.

“Yesterday’s arrest was the culmination of outstanding investigative work into terrible crimes against a young child, as well as a relentless effort to bring a dangerous predator to justice,” Prosecutor Ruotolo said. “This result reflects the remarkable resolve of our investigative staff and the federal authorities assisting them.”

This investigation was led by SVU Detective Claudia Diez and Sgt. Sofia Santos; anyone with additional information about the activities of this defendant is still urged to contact them at 908-868-0391 or 908-577-4256, respectively. Tips can also be submitted anonymously by phone at 908-654-TIPS (8477) or online at

Convictions on second-degree criminal offenses are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years in state prison, while third-degree crimes can result in terms of 3 to 5 years.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.