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Two are accused of slaughtering their families. One is a dangerous child molester who escaped from custody. Another allegedly posed as a religious leader so he could assault girls. They are among the thousands of fugitives who avoid criminal prosecution in the United States every year. Find out more about these fugitives and join John Walsh in his quest to track them down and bring them to justice on "The Hunt."
After John Walsh's 6-year-old son, Adam, was kidnapped and murdered in 1981, he became a tireless advocate for victims' rights. His groundbreaking show "America's Most Wanted" is credited with helping law enforcement capture more than 1,200 fugitives and locating more than 60 missing children. Now, Walsh is returning to television with CNN's "The Hunt" and says he is ready to "saddle back up and catch fugitives."
Got a tip? Call 1-866-THE-HUNT (In Mexico: 0188000990546) or click here
On May 7, 2013, a 911 dispatcher got a call from the residence of Shane and Sandy Miller in Shasta County in northern California. On the other line, the sounds of breathing and crying, then loud bangs before the line went dead. When police arrived at the Millers' house, they found the bodies of Sandy Miller and the couple's two daughters – Shelby, age 8, and Shasta, age 5 – with multiple gunshot wounds.
Miller came to the attention of local law enforcement about a month earlier, when his wife accused him of domestic violence, according to the sheriff’s department. It was his first run-in with Shasta County law enforcement and that arrest uncovered a lengthy criminal record, including a stint in federal prison, according to Sheriff Tom Bosenko.
Following that reported domestic violence incident in April 2013, Sandy Miller went with her two daughters to a local women’s shelter where she said that Shane had “been very agitated for three days” and “assaulted her, tortured her” and “was threatening to kill her whole family,” according to shelter advocate Mare Deutcher.
After the killings, Shane Miller, his truck and the family dog went missing. He quickly became the lead suspect in the case. The next day, he and his truck were spotted 200 miles away in Petrolia, California.
Miller, who grew up in the nearby town of Garberville, was spotted by an ex-girlfriend who called 911. That sparked a manhunt in and around Petrolia and law enforcement came within 10 minutes of nabbing Miller, according to Humboldt County Sheriff’s investigator Todd Fulton.
Miller ditched his truck and authorities believe he fled on foot into the mountainous forests of California's "Lost Coast," an area he knows well. Investigators believe Miller is able to survive in the wilderness for long periods of time, and that his old contacts from the marijuana trade may be helping him.
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Mom: Stoeser "friended" my daughter
Former U.S. soldier Kevin Patrick Stoeser pleaded guilty in 2003 to child sexual assault and child pornography charges and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. While he was on supervised probation at a halfway house in 2011, he was sent back to prison after engaging in electronic communications with underage girls. In August 2013, Stoeser was transferred to the Austin Transitional Center, a halfway house in Texas. Two months later, staff members allegedly caught Stoeser using a smart phone which authorities later found to have dozens of images of underage children. After the discovery, Stoeser immediately fled the facility through an emergency door exit and has not been seen since. The U.S. Marshals Service added Stoeser to its 15 most wanted fugitives earlier this year, offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Stoeser was born in Fort Pierre, South Dakota, in December 1972 to a mother who was raped by her stepfather when she was 13 years old. He joined the army when he was 21 and quickly moved up the military ranks to sergeant. A few years later, Stoeser struck up a relationship with a 16-year-old girl and within months, the two were married (because she was not legally old enough to marry on her own, he had to get permission from her parents) and had a daughter. Not long after, she left him citing verbal and emotional abuse and infidelity.
His military career ended with a dishonorable discharge following his 2003 conviction. Stoeser spent eight years in Fort Leavenworth’s military prison before he was sent to a halfway house with probation supervision in Rapid City, South Dakota, a couple of hours drive from his hometown of Fort Pierre. The Internet and electronic communication had come a long way since he was incarcerated in 2003 and Stoeser quickly picked up on Facebook, which he allegedly used to reach out to teenagers in Fort Pierre.
When Stoeser sent a Facebook friend request to teenager Tory Deal in 2011, neither she nor her mother, who went to school with Stoeser, thought much of it. Tory’s mother, Kara Deal, knew Kevin’s family in Fort Pierre and remembered him from high school as kind of “geeky.” And then Stoeser’s messages started getting more frequent and personal.
Tory Deal ignored the messages, until her friends at school said they were also getting messages from someone named Kevin Stoeser telling them how pretty they were and asking to hang out. Tory told her mom and a Google search quickly revealed that Stoeser was a high-risk sex offender who had spent time in prison for raping a young girl.
Kara Deal immediately warned her daughter to block all communication with Stoeser, and alerted police. Stoeser was sent back to prison for 18 months for violating his parole terms before he was released to a halfway house in Austin, Texas, where he escaped last fall.
Stoeser is described as a narcissist, a borderline nymphomaniac, and fits the profile of a “traveler,” a law enforcement term for men who “seek out vulnerable children online and worm their way into their lives,” according to Michael Burke, chief psychologist at the U.S. Marshal Service’s Behavioral Analysis Unit.
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Parents describe Mozdir's alleged crime
Charles Mozdir's two friends thought they knew him: in school, Charlie seemed to take pride in never really fitting in with one group. When these two friends – who requested their names not be used -- got married, Mozdir was their wedding photographer. He was even present for the birth of their first child. Sure, Charlie seemed to have a secret life and told outlandish stories about his overseas travels – but the couple figured that was part of his eccentric nature.
Then, in June 2012, everything changed. The couple's now 7-year-old son was ill with a high fever and the mother was trying to take care of the couple's newborn daughter. The father, who was away at the time, insisted his wife call Mozdir to help out since he was a night owl anyway.
Despite her apprehension, she did call Mozdir and he came over to help watch the sick child. As she slept in the same king size bed with her son, Mozdir stayed awake by the bedside keeping an eye on the feverish child. The next morning, she thanked Mozdir for being "a great godfather" and she said "that was the last time I saw him." She said her son told her a short time later about how Mozdir had touched his private parts and told the boy this was normal and that his parents would be upset if he said anything to them.
The mother said she was physically ill after hearing this and, after telling her husband, they immediately went to the police. Coronado, California, investigators executed a search warrant on Mozdir's house and found evidence of child pornography and bestiality on his cell phone and computers, according to U.S. Marshals Service deputy Brian Grimes.
Mozdir was arrested four days after the incident and booked into the San Diego County jail before posting bail the next day. The district attorney told the couple that Mozdir had been accused in another child assault case when he was babysitting a young boy who told his mother. On June 15, 2012, Mozdir failed to appear at his arraignment.
Charges were immediately filed and arrest warrants were issued. Grimes said investigators believe he took all his money and fled. Mozdir indicated he was considering going to Mexico or Japan during one of his last phone calls. His roommate told police that Mozdir had two guns and had threatened to kill himself and kill a victim's father.
The Coronado Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service searched for Mozdir in Georgia and California, as well as the Mexican state of Baja California. On June 20, 2012, Coronado police found Mozdir's abandoned vehicle hidden in the brush outside the coastal Georgia town of Darien. The license plate had been ripped off and there was an extra gas tank inside. A bloodhound picked up Mozdir's scent near U.S. Highway 17. There has been no sign of Mozdir since.
He is considered a threat. "Certainly I believe that he is out there right now harming children and harming other people, I absolutely believe that," said Steve Jurman, a supervisory deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service. Mozdir was last seen in San Diego by his sister with his dog, a black lab named Lucky. He has search and rescue and EMT training, and may be able to live off the land for extended periods of time.
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Burying the bodies
On the run
After living the life of an international diplomat at posts around the world including Italy and Botswana, Foreign Service officer William Bradford "Brad" Bishop Jr. settled with his family in Washington, D.C. in the early 1970s. Colleagues say the transition to a desk job was difficult for Bishop, a Yale graduate who spoke six languages and knew how to fly a plane. He, like a lot of his State Department colleagues, felt enormous pressure to be promoted.
"It's up or out," explained Foreign Service officer James Bruno. "If you don't get promoted to a certain position in a certain amount of time, you're out. We all take that very seriously in the Foreign Service," he said, but Bishop "took it much more seriously than I guess the rest of us did."
When Bishop, who was 39 at the time, learned he had been passed over for a promotion on March 1, 1976, he left his job at the State Department early, telling his secretary he felt ill. He went to a hardware store, where he purchased a small sledgehammer and a gas can before heading to his home in Bethesda, Maryland. That evening, police say, Bishop fatally bludgeoned his mother, his wife and their three sons – ages 14, 10, and 5 -- with the hammer.
Police say that Bishop, after killing his family, loaded their bodies into the family's station wagon and drove about five hours south to the Outer Banks region of North Carolina. There, in a heavily wooded area, they claim, he dumped their bodies into a shallow grave and set them on fire. Rising smoke alerted a ranger and authorities soon discovered the bodies. A massive manhunt ensued.
About 2½ hours south of the grave site, Bishop was spotted in a store near Jacksonville, North Carolina buying a pair of tennis shoes with his credit card, authorities said. The station wagon – still covered in blood -- was found abandoned in a parking lot at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hundreds of miles east of where the bodies were found.
In the days before DNA profiling and the Internet, it took a lot of old-fashioned detective work to trace the bodies back to Bethesda. The only clue investigators had was a price tag on a shovel left at the grave site with the letters "OCH HD." North Carolina state investigator Lewis Young said he and a colleague drove around the region looking for a hardware store with those letters in the name, and called law enforcement across the region for assistance. When they reached out to Washington Metropolitan Police, they learned there was a "Poch" hardware store in Potomac, Maryland. Not sure how to proceed, Young and his colleague headed to Potomac, where they posted a flyer with images of the unidentified victims' faces inside the hardware store, before returning to North Carolina.
Around the same time, the Bishops' neighbors had told authorities they hadn't seen the family in a week, and mail and newspapers had piled up at the residence. When Montgomery County police entered the Bishop home, they found what officer Mike McNally described as a "horror house," with blood everywhere.
Montgomery County authorities found the flyer that the North Carolina investigators left at Poch Hardware, and determined that the unidentified bodies found in North Carolina were the missing Bishop family.
McNally said he'll never forget the hammer marks on the ceiling above the top bunk bed in one of the boys' bedrooms. "The number of marks, you know, how many times he must have hit his son," McNally said.
There have been three credible sightings of Bishop since he disappeared in 1976: a Swedish woman and former acquaintance said she spotted him in Stockholm; a former neighbor saw him on a train in Basel, Switzerland; and a former colleague stood next to him in a men's room in Sorrento, Italy.
"I thought he was a vagrant," said retired Foreign Service officer Roy Harrell, who saw Bishop in Sorrento. "He was standing there and I came and stood right next to him, and for some reason turned. In my mind's eye I stripped off the beard, and saw the Foreign Service officer I had seen in Washington, D.C. I just impulsively said, 'You're Brad Bishop, aren't you?' And he began trembling and shaking and said 'Oh God, no' and turned around. I have no doubt it was him."
This year, the FBI added him to its Ten Most Wanted fugitives list and commissioned a forensic artist to create a bust of what Bradford might look like today as a man in his late 70s.
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David Burgert has had numerous encounters with law enforcement, dating back to 1985. In 2002, an FBI and police investigation discovered that Burgert had been the leader of a militia group known as Project 7, based in the Kalispell, Montana area. The heavily armed group was accused of plotting the assassinations of local government officials.
Burgert was convicted of weapons violations and served seven years in prison. A few years after his release, Burgert was squatting at a campsite near Lolo, Montana, about 10 miles outside Missoula, when someone called 911 to report suspicious behavior.
After Missoula County deputies arrived to investigate, Burgert fled the scene in his Jeep Cherokee. After a long car chase, Burgert drove off-road, got out of his car, and fired at the officers. They returned fire but when they approached Burgert’s car, they found that he had disappeared in the woods. A five‐day manhunt with cadaver dogs never found any trace of him.
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On July 19, 2012, William Angel, 20, and two friends were driving home from a night out in Tampa, Florida, when they were struck head-on by a driver traveling the wrong way on a major interstate. Angel was killed instantly, and his passengers were seriously injured. The driver of the other vehicle, Christopher Ponce, 22, was suspected by police to be under the influence of alcohol, and arrested. At his initial hearing, a judge released Ponce on bond and required him to wear a GPS monitor until trial. After 9 months on house arrest, Ponce cut off his ankle bracelet and vanished.
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Guillermo Madrigal Ballesteros is wanted for organizing the transport of illegal immigrants.
In October 2002, the decomposed bodies of 11 men and women were found inside a railroad freight car in Denison, Iowa, where the car had been transferred after sitting for months in a storage facility in Oklahoma. All were trying to enter the country illegally before their smugglers lost track of the train car they were riding in. They died of dehydration and hyperthermia. Their deaths have been tied to an international smuggling operation that allegedly included Guillermo Madrigal Ballesteros, who used the nickname “Don Memo.” Madrigal, a Mexican national who was himself illegally in the United States, is accused of helping to smuggle people from Central America into the United States through Mexico between January 2000 and February 2003 – including these 11 men and women. Madrigal – who goes by "Don Memo," Memo or Madrigal -- is the only fugitive wanted in the case. Juan Fernando Licea-Cedillo was convicted and sentenced in 2005 to more than 24 years in prison, according to The Associated Press. The train conductor also served prison time for his role. And another man allegedly involved in the operation, Rogelio Hernandez, is currently serving time in a Mexican prison for an unrelated crime.
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The U.S. Marshals Service says Frederick McLean has been molesting girls for at least 25 years. The vintage race car expert disappeared shortly after allegedly admitting to abusing a girl at his Temecula, California, church, who accused him of sexual molestation in early 2004. McLean, a Jehovah’s Witness, left a truck behind to be sold by his family along with a treasure map, with directions to a secret stash of money. The marshals say eight of McLean’s victims have been identified so far. They believe McLean fled with at least $100,000 in cash, possibly in a small, dark-colored pickup truck, and may have changed his name and appearance. He is an experienced camper, frequenting Southern California’s Anza-Borrego Desert and Cuyamaca Mountains, and he also knows a lot about restoring classic race cars.
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Thayne Smika is suspected of killing his roommate in 1983.
In January 1983, Sid Wells, a 22-year‐old journalism student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, posted an ad for a room for rent. Seven months later, he was dead – shot in the back of the head, execution-style. The chief suspect: his new roommate, Thayne Smika, a 24-year-old college dropout from Akron, Colorado. Wells allegedly had trouble collecting the rent from Smika, and authorities believe the roommates were arguing over the late rent payment shortly before Wells was killed inside the apartment. Police arrested Smika on October 6, 1983, but prosecutors declined to charge him with the killing, saying there wasn’t enough evidence. Boulder police reopened the case in 1997 and, with the FBI’s help, established new forensic and ballistic evidence linking Smika to the murder. A warrant for Smika’s arrest was issued in 2011, but he has yet to be located. Boulder police believe he may have a new identity, and his family may be helping him. Recent information indicates he may be living near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The case attracted the attention of the national media because Wells was dating Robert Redford’s daughter at the time he was killed.
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John & Julieanne Dimitrion