In 1930, Holden made an ingenious escape from Leavenworth Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas, and was sought by the FBI as an escaped federal prisoner. He pushed his luck too far, renewing his criminal contacts and associating with such notorious mobsters as Alvin Karpis, Verne Miller, and Frank Nash.
While Holden was enjoying his precarious freedom from Leavenworth, he was alleged to have been one of the “outside” crew members responsible for a sensational armed break from Leavenworth in December of 1931.
The FBI’s two-year search for him ended on July 7, 1932, when Special Agents and local police officers surrounded him and a fellow escapee on a golf course in Kansas City, Missouri. The pair was armed only with their golf clubs. Returned to prison, Holden did “easy time,” exempted from hard labor because of a rheumatic heart condition.
Upon his release from prison on November 28, 1947, most of the prominent members of the underworld society Thomas Holden had known were no longer around. A number of the more reckless desperadoes had elected to “shoot it out” with law enforcement officers and died in the attempt to escape. His other crime partners were in Alcatraz or similar government institutions.
For 18 months, Holden led a comparatively quiet life. Returning to Chicago where his wife, Lillian, and two sons resided, he spent most of his time around various neighborhood taverns. He did not have a steady job. On June 5, 1949, at 3:15 a.m., the Chicago police responded to a radio call about a shooting on the West Side. In a fourth floor apartment two men and a woman lay dead. A .38 revolver containing four spent cartridges and two loaded shells was on a dresser. The victims were Mrs. Lillian Holden and her two brothers. They had been shot to death by her husband, Thomas James Holden, after a drinking party.
Holden was charged with murder and five days later was seen in the vicinity of Cedar Lake, Indiana. With evidence of his flight from the state of Illinois, the Chicago Police Department sought FBI assistance. A federal complaint was issued November 4, 1949, charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution for the crime of murder. On March 14, 1950, Thomas Holden was the first fugitive to be placed on the FBI’s newly created “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list.
On June 23, 1951, FBI Agents apprehended Thomas James Holden near Beaverton, Oregon. The arrest was the result of a series of stories carried by the International News Service (INS) describing the nation’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.” An alert citizen identified the fugitive from a picture carried in the INS series in the Oregonian newspaper.
Later that month, all of the participants drove into Minnehaha County, South Dakota, five miles east of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in order to obtain some dynamite to make nitroglycerin. After getting out of the car, three of the men became involved in a fight. The girlfriend got out of the automobile and attempted to stop the fight. As she did so, Nesbit struck her on the head with a hammer several times and one of the other men shot her. She was dragged into a powder house. Baker was lying in the powder house apparently unconscious. One of the men lit a fuse to some powder and fled the scene. Baker’s girlfriend, although severely beaten and wounded, remained conscious and was able to crawl away.
The fuse exploded 3,500 pounds of dynamite and 7,000 pounds of black powder, killing Harold Baker. The explosion rocked the countryside, shattering windows, mirrors, and glassware in Sioux Falls, five miles away.
While the police were conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the blast, they were advised that a woman had been brought to the hospital and she was suffering from bullet wounds, exposure, and shock.
The investigation revealed information concerning the three men, including Nesbit, who had been responsible for the murder of Baker and for the shooting of Baker’s girlfriend. Nesbit was apprehended in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on February 26, 1937. He was returned to Sioux Falls where he was tried and convicted for murder and received life imprisonment in South Dakota State Penitentiary.
Nine years later, Nesbit’s life term was commuted to 20 years. Nesbit, during this term had become a trustee and eventually was allowed to leave the prison to perform housework, landscaping, and duties as a chauffeur. On September 4, 1946, when the night check was made, Nesbit was missing.
On December 26, 1946, a federal complaint was filed before the United States Commissioner at Rapid City, South Dakota, charging William Raymond Nesbit with unlawful flight to avoid confinement and a warrant was issued for his arrest. The FBI entered the search.
In March of 1950, a news article, which carried a picture of Nesbit together with his description and fugitive status was published in a St. Paul, Minnesota, newspaper as well as in other newspapers.
On Friday afternoon, March 17, 1950, a 14-year-old boy arrived home from school and noticed a newspaper on the kitchen floor. As he glanced at the paper, he noted a photograph of Nesbit and the accompanying article advising Nesbit was wanted by the FBI.
The boy and his 13-year-old friend spent much of their time playing along the Mississippi River bank in St. Paul, Minnesota, with other boys from the neighborhood. Over the past few months, they had become acquainted with “Ray,” a man who lived in a cave in the river bank. They had visited “Ray” about once a week for four months beginning in November of 1949. He allowed them access to his cave, occasionally telling them stories about his travels. Finally, in early March of 1950, “Ray” told the boys to stay away from the cave because they were liable to get hurt.
The 14-year-old boy cut the article out of the newspaper believing the man in the photograph was “Ray.” The boy took the article to his friend who thought the man in the photo was thinner than “Ray.” The next day the boys went down to the cave to make sure “Ray” was indeed the man in the photograph. They then telephoned the police and told them of their suspicion.
On Saturday morning, March 18, 1950, just two days after William Raymond Nesbit was placed on the “Top Ten” list, Nesbit was apprehended by the St. Paul Police due to the ingenuity, intelligence, and courage displayed by two young boys.
Already possessing a lengthy arrest record, he acquired a spot on the “Top Ten” on March 3, 1952, a few years after he was charged with first degree murder. On August 17, 1949, a bludgeoned woman’s body was discovered in a ditch alongside a Michigan road; two weeks later, police were on the hunt for Beausoleil.
Police ultimately named Beausoleil, the bludgeoned woman’s companion, as the “logical suspect” because his car was spotted fleeing the murder scene and was later recovered in Boston, Massachusetts.
Suspicion mounted when he visited North Avenue Beach in Chicago, Illinois, dressed as a woman and was observed acting peculiar in the women’s restroom.
In September of 1953, after deportation back to Canada because of violations of immigration laws, he was sentenced to five years’ probation for unlawful entry into the United States. A month later, Beausoleil stood trial for earlier crimes and received five-to-ten years and one-to-three years for attempted robbery and escape, in addition to a parole violation.
Laws and his associate then carjacked a car driven by a soldier, abducted him, and drove to an amusement park where the soldier was released. The soldier’s car was abandoned a short distance away and the robbers continued their flight. They were known to have stayed in a motel in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Laws was believed to have lost a significant amount of blood, and investigation at the motel revealed that a large quantity of linens were taken, possibly used as bandages. Investigators also found a blood-soaked makeshift bandage and a bloody tourniquet at the motel.
On February 28, 1967, the FBI placed Laws on the “Top Ten” list. Laws’ associate was captured on May 20, 1967.
Laws, who was from Missouri, was in frequent telephonic contact with former employers, associates, and relatives. In his telephone conversations, Laws would never indicate the location he was calling from, and there was no real purpose to the telephone calls other than just “small talk.” The person he most frequently contacted was a relative in Missouri, who was cooperating with the FBI.
On the evening of May 18, 1967, while there was a thunderstorm in the Kansas City, Missouri, area, Laws called his relative. He again declined to indicate his whereabouts, but the person could hear thunder over the telephone at the same time could hear thunder outside and confronted Laws with the fact he must be in the Kansas City area.
Laws acknowledged that he, in fact, was in the area, so his relative expressed the desire to see him. Laws agreed to come to the house that evening at 10:00 p.m. He requested that all doors be locked with the exception of the back door to the house and that the lights be turned off. Prior to ending the call, the relative told Laws about his fear of weapons and asked that Laws come unarmed.
Laws’ relative immediately notified the FBI. Agents secured the house and moved the occupants to safety. At promptly 10:00 p.m., the back door of the house opened and Laws slipped into the dining room. He was immediately placed under arrest. Laws commented, “The one time I need my gun I don’t have it.”
He was tried for kidnapping in state court in Easton, Maryland, and on May 9, 1968, was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Investigators uncovered latent fingerprints at the scene and compared them to the 53,000 people wanted by the FBI at that time. Eric Starvo Galt became the FBI’s prime suspect after his prints matched those found at the scene. Additional investigative efforts determined that Eric Starvo Galt was an alias used by James Earl Ray.
Ray’s arrest record was lengthy, including a 20-year prison sentence for robbing a supermarket in St. Louis, Missouri. Moving from place to place his whole life, he had no intention of settling in prison and eventually escaped in 1967 by hiding in a truck transporting food from the prison bakery. Ray made his way around the country, driving his purchased 1966 white Mustang 19,000 miles within nine months, stopping in California, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. While in Alabama, on March 30, 1968, he purchased a 30.06 rifle with telescopic sight from a Birmingham arms dealer and then drove his Mustang to Memphis, Tennessee.
After the murder of Dr. King, police found his Mustang abandoned in Atlanta and discovered that Eric Starvo Galt was its owner. After determining that Galt and Ray were the same person, authorities issued a federal arrest warrant and charged Ray with conspiring to interfere with a constitutional right of a United States citizen. Additionally, he was charged with unlawful interstate flight to avoid confinement, following his 1967 escape from prison.
On June 8, 1968, roughly two months after the assassination, authorities caught up with Ray at London’s Heathrow Airport while he was trying to flee to Africa and extradited him to the United States. Initially, Ray claimed he did not shoot Dr. King, but came to Memphis in order to participate in a “gun running” venture, and that those in charge of it had set him up. Despite his claim of innocence, Ray pleaded guilty in an apparent bid to avoid the death penalty and was sentenced to 99 years at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Tennessee. Three days after his conviction, he tried to withdraw his guilty plea, reiterating that a man he met in Montreal named “Raoul” tricked him into going to Memphis.
Ray appeared on the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list a second time in 1977 when he escaped from the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary. Ray and six other inmates used materials from the prison machine shop to assemble a ladder and climb over the wall of the prison. He was tracked down by bloodhounds and apprehended 54 hours after escaping.
Skepticism about Ray’s involvement in the murder of Dr. King would later surface. King’s family and close associates came to believe that Ray did not act alone and supported efforts to obtain a retrial. King’s family pursued a wrongful death lawsuit against Memphis restaurant owner Loyd Jowers after he alleged that he hired someone other than Ray to murder King. In December of 1999, a Memphis jury decided Ray did not fire the shot that killed King and that government agencies were involved in the assassination plot.
A year earlier, in August of 1998, the Department of Justice debunked Ray’s claim of being set up by “Raoul” when it conducted a limited review of the King assassination. After a year and a half of investigation into conspiracy claims, the Department of Justice concluded that it found no reliable evidence of anyone involved in the assassination plot named “Raoul” or a government-led conspiracy.
On the night of October 20, 1968, a Columbus, Ohio, dairy store was held up and two teenaged store employees were murdered execution style. The victims, a 15-year-old boy and an 18-year-old girl, were bound hand and foot, gagged, brutally beaten about the head, and then shot in the back of the head with an automatic pistol. The manager of the store was also viciously beaten. However, she survived the assault, despite efforts to strangle her with a wire coat hanger.
Through investigation, it was determined that Richard Lee Tingler, Jr., a native of Portsmouth, Ohio, was allegedly responsible for the six brutal murders.
On October 24, 1968, a federal arrest warrant was issued and Tingler was charged with unlawful interstate flight to avoid prosecution for murder and armed robbery was issued in Columbus, Ohio. In December of 1968, the FBI added him to its “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list.
Tingler had sought to conceal his location and identity by gaining employment on a farm near Dill City and using the alias of Don Williams. But his attempt to avoid apprehension came to an end on May 19, 1969, when his employer visited the Washita County Sheriff’s Office. There, he observed a Wanted Poster for Tingler and noticed how the photo and description of Tingler strongly resembled his hired hand, Don Williams.
The employer, wanting to be sure of his identification of Tingler before telling the sheriff about his fears, contacted a neighbor. He requested that the neighbor visit the sheriff’s office and view the wanted notices of Tingler. The neighbor did so and agreed with his friend’s observations. They notified the sheriff of Tingler’s location.
On the afternoon of May 19, 1969, an FBI Agent and members of the Washita County Sheriff’s Office arrested Tingler at the farmhouse. At the time of his arrest, Tingler was armed with a .25 calibre automatic pistol.
Noted as a “cold, calculating, and deliberate killer,” Tingler was sentenced to die in the electric chair.
On December 17, 1968, Eisemann-Schier and her ex-con accomplice, Gary Steven Krist, kidnapped 20-year-old Barbara Mackle from her motel room in Decatur, Georgia. Eisemann-Schier, disguised herself as a man, and Krist impersonated a policeman to gain entry into the room. Once inside, they gagged Barbara’s mother and forced Barbara to come with them.
They buried Barbara inside a coffin with ventilation tubes, a fan, and a little food in a shallow grave in the woods outside of Atlanta. Krist and Eisemann-Schier then demanded Robert Mackle, Barbara’s father and a wealthy Florida real estate developer, pay a $500,000 ransom. After Mackle paid the ransom, the money was recovered by police on a routine patrol who observed a man carrying a large bag.
The police asked the man to stop and identify himself, but instead, the man dropped the money and ran.
Then the Atlanta FBI Office received a telephone call from an anonymous male, believed to be Krist, claiming he knew of Barbara’s location. The caller said Barbara was in a capsule buried in the Norcross area and, 80 hours later, a healthy Barbara was discovered after an extensive effort by FBI Agents to locate the capsule and dig through the red clay with boards, tire irons, sticks, and bare hands.
A federal arrest warrant was issued in December and Krist and Eisemann-Schier were charged with the kidnapping. The pair had split after the kidnapping, and Krist was captured in Florida.
Eisemann-Schier had moved to Norman, Oklahoma, and began to blend into the community. Donna Wills, her alias, was a 19-year-old, financially struggling college student at Oklahoma University. Eisemann-Schier had applied for a job at the Central State Mental Hospital, which required applicants to submit fingerprints. A clerk at the Oklahoma State Bureau of Identification saw that the prints were a positive match to Ruth Eisemann-Schier and contacted authorities.
She was in Oklahoma only three weeks when she was taken into custody while working as a carhop at the popular Boomerang Restaurant. Eisemann-Schier immediately admitted who she was and shocked everyone that knew her as polite and shy Donna Wills. Eisemann-Schier had apparently suspected her capture because she left goodbye notes with borrowed items in her apartment and told her employer that she would be leaving soon.
Eisemann-Schier and Krist both faced three federal charges when they appeared in court. Krist was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, but was released on parole after ten years. Eisemann-Schier was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in prison, but was paroled after serving four years and deported back to her native country of Honduras.
One of the most notorious American serial killers in history, Bundy dodged law enforcement’s radar for roughly a year until coordinated investigative efforts in late 1975 by five Western states identified a pattern between his movements—tracked by gasoline credit card purchases—and the murdered women.
Bundy would act helpless, wearing leg and arm casts, or appear to be in some position of authority in order to gain the victim’s trust. Many of his victims were lured to his vehicle, brutally beaten and sexually assaulted.
Bundy was first arrested on August 16, 1975, after police discovered handcuffs, a mask fashioned of pantyhose, an ice pick, and other items on a routine traffic stop. Shortly after his arrest, one of Bundy’s surviving victims identified him as the assailant from a police line-up. Police were able to connect his vehicle to the surviving victim’s kidnapping, Bundy was convicted on March 1, 1976, and sentenced to one-to-15 years in prison.
He was then extradited to Colorado to stand trial for the murder of a nurse at an Aspen ski resort. While awaiting his trial, Bundy escaped in June of 1977 from the Pitkin County Law Library by jumping out of the second-story window. Six days later, he was arrested and sent to the Garfield County Jail in Colorado. Bundy was there for only six months before he escaped on New Year’s Eve 1977, by losing 30 pounds so he could fit through a small light fixture hole in the ceiling of his cell. As a result of this escape, the FBI added Bundy to the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list on February 10, 1978, after a federal arrest warrant was issued in Denver, Colorado, after he was charged with unlawful interstate flight to avoid prosecution.
He escaped to Tallahassee, Florida, where he continued his murderous rampage. He broke into a Florida State University (FSU) sorority house on January 14, 1978, where he bludgeoned and strangled two sleeping women. After leaving the sorority house, he broke into a house a few blocks away, then clubbed and severely injured an FSU student. A few weeks later, in February of 1978, he abducted and killed a 12-year-old Lake City, Florida, girl, leaving her body in a pigsty, which was not found until a year later.
Bundy’s rampage came to a halt on February 15, 1978, when he was pulled over by Pensacola police while driving in a stolen vehicle toward the Florida Panhandle. After the officer learned the vehicle was reported stolen, Bundy was fingerprinted, identified, and charged with the sorority murders. Authorities were able to match bite marks from one victim to Bundy’s teeth, and also had a witness who saw him leaving the sorority house with a club in his hand. He stood trial in June of 1979 for the FSU murders and was found guilty and sentenced to die. Bundy was then tried in January of 1980 for the murder of the 12-year-old Lake City, Florida, girl and was sentenced to death.
Bundy obtained two stays of execution before finally being executed on November 24, 1989. In order to get a stay of execution, Bundy would confess to various murders soon before he was to be executed. When his third death warrant was issued, the judge did not grant a stay of execution and sent him to the electric chair.
Shortly after, Rudolph would proceed to bomb two more locations in Georgia and one in Birmingham, Alabama. The Georgia bombings exhibited a similarity: a second bomb detonated to take out first responders and law enforcement.
On January 16, 1997, an abortion clinic bombing in Atlanta injured seven people as nails and other shrapnel blasted through the crowd outside the office building that housed the clinic. The second device caused all seven injuries whereas the first bomb injured no one.
About a month later, on February 21, 1997, Rudolph injured five people when he planted a bomb on the back patio of a crowded gay nightclub in Atlanta. A second bomb was discovered the following day in the parking lot that was intended to go off, but failed.
Rudolph’s last attack on January 29, 1998, provided authorities with necessary clues and rendered them something the previous bombings had not—a witness. His abortion clinic bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, killed an off-duty police officer and severely injured the clinic’s head nurse. The witness claimed to see a man flee the scene in a truck and wrote down the license plate numbers. Authorities ran the plate number and named Eric Robert Rudolph as the owner of the vehicle.
Initially, officials were only seeking information from Rudolph in connection with the bombing, but he soon became the primary suspect after investigators recovered nails and other evidence at Rudolph’s home, in his truck, and in a rented storage unit. Authorities charged him with the Birmingham bombing and later connected Rudolph to the three bombings in Georgia.
Although the bombs were not identical, authorities were able to establish a connection through forensic evidence. Once he learned he was a prime suspect, Rudolph escaped to the mountains of western North Carolina, initiating a massive manhunt.
Known to frequent the forested area by his childhood home, Rudolph was sought by authorities, and a $1 million reward was posted for information leading to his arrest. The last sighting of him before his capture was in July of 1998, when he visited a friend’s home seeking food and supplies. Days later, Rudolph broke into the friend’s food store and stole supplies, food, and a truck that was later found abandoned with money and a note in the front seat. Once in custody, authorities described Rudolph as “relieved” and acknowledged that he appeared to be tired of life on the run.
A federal judge ruled Rudolph had to be tried in Alabama first and then in Georgia. He agreed to a plea bargain and pleaded guilty to all charges to avoid the death penalty. Soon after, Rudolph wrote a statement detailing his motives for the bombings. Exposed to extremism at a young age, he railed against abortion clinics and homosexuality throughout his 11-page manifesto.
He is currently serving five consecutive life sentences.
After Jeffs’ 92-year-old father died, his legacy was passed on to him. And, in 2002, Jeffs became the leader of the FLDS. While maintaining this position, Jeffs was the only person empowered to perform marriages between minor females and adult males within the FLDS colony. Jeffs also assumed the authority to strip male followers of their wives, children, and property without forethought or question.
Jeffs was wanted for two counts of sexual assault on a minor. These alleged offenses took place in March of 2002, and on or between July 1st and December 31, 2002. Jeffs was also being sought for conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor. This incident allegedly happened sometime between January and June of 2002. All of the alleged offenses took place in the vicinity of Colorado City, Arizona.
On June 9, 2005, a Mohave County grand jury charged Jeffs with sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor. A state arrest warrant was issued in Arizona on June 10, 2005. Additionally, a federal arrest warrant was issued in Arizona on June 27, 2005. Jeffs was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. On May 6, 2006, the FBI placed Warren Jeffs, a former accountant and private school teacher, on the “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list.
Jeffs probably had better days, but August 28, 2006, was not likely one of them. While he was riding in a 2007 red Cadillac Escalade, a Nevada Department of Public Safety trooper pulled over the car for a traffic stop. This occurred after the trooper noticed that valid license plates were not displayed on the vehicle. After questioning one of the occupants in the vehicle, it became apparent to the trooper that this individual resembled Warren Jeffs, an FBI “Ten Most Wanted Fugitive.” The trooper contacted the FBI and Agents responded to the scene. Jeffs was identified by the FBI and taken into custody.
Taken from: http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/ten-most-wanted-fugitives-60th-anniversary-1950-2010/famous_cases [14.03.2013]