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Abortion foe suspected in anthrax hoax letters

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI named a self-proclaimed "anti-abortion warrior" as the chief suspect in hundreds of letters sent to women's abortion clinics that falsely claimed to be contaminated with anthrax.

The suspect was identified as Clayton Lee Waagner. He escaped from DeWitt County Jail in Illinois in February and is on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.

Authorities warned he should be considered armed and extremely dangerous. A $50,000 reward has been posted for information leading to his capture.

After Waagner was allegedly involved in a hit and run accident in September, authorities said they found a rifle, a shotgun and a pipe bomb in his car, along with anti-abortion literature.

Waagner also is wanted for bank robbery in Pennsylvania, firearms possession in Tennessee, and carjacking in Mississippi, all taking place after he escaped, the FBI said.

When he escaped he was awaiting sentencing after being convicted on federal weapons and stolen motor vehicle charges.

The FBI listed more than 50 aliases Waagner has used.

FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives 
FBI press release on Waagner 
Message Board: Anthrax and bioterrorism 

On the agency Web site, he is described as a white male, 6 feet 1 inch tall, 175 to 220 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.

Possible frostbite injuries may have left Waagner with limited use of his left hand and may cause him to walk with a limp.

He is also known to be a heavy smoker and gambler and to drink Crown Royal bourbon.

He is suspected of sending two waves of letters claiming to contain anthrax.

During the second week of October more than 280 threatening letters were mailed to women's reproductive health clinics on the East Coast.

The envelopes bore return addresses of the U.S. Marshals Service or the U.S. Secret Service.

A month later a second series of more than 270 anthrax threat letters were sent to women's reproductive health clinics via Federal Express.

Authorities said they received information over the Thanksgiving weekend that Waagner claimed responsibility for sending the hoax letters to women's reproductive health clinics.

The hoax letters sent to the clinics are considered unconnected to the anthrax-laced letters sent to two Senate offices and several news outlets in New York and Florida. No suspect has been identified in those cases.


• Federal Bureau of Investigation
• U.S. Department of Justice
• U.S. Postal Service
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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