“Missing” wanted criminals

Every once in awhile I come across a case where someone is listed as a missing person, when they are actually on the run because they’re wanted for a serious crime. I just found another, a young man listed as missing on NamUs. I started to write up his case and, as is customary, Googled his name — and lo, this man is wanted for murder and considered armed and dangerous!

Another young woman who is listed on the NCMEC site (though not as an NCMEC case, but rather a Maryland Center for Missing Children case) was on the MPCCN and I think the Charley Project for years before I found out she’s wanted for attempted murder. There is a man who was (and probably still is) listed on NCMA who fled after being charged with sex offenses. I think he set up a hidden camera in a girls’ locker room and watched them change clothes. He is also on America’s Most Wanted. A further case I remember is a man listed with the Nebraska State Patrol as a missing person — quite an old case. After looking up information on him I found out he killed his parents when he was fifteen and “went missing” after he escaped from prison nine years later. I admit that it’s a bit odd that no one has seen or heard from him since 1967, but guys, this man is a double murderer and prison escapee! Wanted! Not missing!

There may be more to the story than I know — there probably is — but from what information I do have it seems ridiculous. I do not understand why such people are listed as missing persons when they’re really wanted criminals. It strikes me as extremely irresponsible. Suppose, say, someone sees the person listed as missing and they think he might be someone they know. So they confront him: “Is that your real name? Aren’t you you actually so-and-so? Cause I saw this poster and you look an awful lot like him.” And the missing/wanted person, thinking the jig is up and he’s about to get arrested and sent to prison, becomes violent. Again. It’s a remote possibility, I admit, but it could happen.

Thoughts, anyone?

18 thoughts on ““Missing” wanted criminals

  1. Justin January 2, 2010 / 4:39 pm

    So if a missing person has outstanding warrants for them when they went missing, you won’t post them?

    • Meaghan January 2, 2010 / 10:01 pm

      Not if they are believed to be on the run from the law, no. But there are many people on Charley who had outstanding warrants for lesser crimes and I posted them anyway because the police don’t think they went missing because of that. I think only a day or two ago I posted a guy who was wanted for failure to pay child support.

      Notice in my post I said “serious” crimes. If a person is wanted for murder and they suddenly vanish, barring any evidence to the contrary, I would assume they ran for it.

  2. orla January 2, 2010 / 7:37 pm

    I think you can be wanted and missing also.

    The case file could just mention that the person is wanted and should not be approached etc, tje standard disclaimer.

  3. danielle January 2, 2010 / 9:25 pm

    sometimes bad things can happen..even if the person planned to be missing. I seem to remember a case about a woman from the midwest. and she went on a business trip with her husband. She pretended to be sightseeing but left her husband. Then she was found dead in North Carolina, a victim of homicide in another state. I think North Carolina. that had nothing to do with her husband.
    It was on Unsolved Mysteries and recently on one of those 48 Hours type shows.
    The sad thing was “eveyone” thought her husband was a suspect, but after the body was found they knew he wasn’t at fault.
    ….sometimes weird things like this happen.

  4. Bill January 3, 2010 / 1:53 am

    If someone were to approach a missing person, not knowing he was wanted for a violent offense, that someone may not be prepared for the person’s response.
    I agree with Meaghan. Such info should be included for the benefit of the searcher.

  5. donna January 3, 2010 / 7:54 pm

    I was on the DOJ wanted sex offenders site when it hit me like a ton of bricks: Pedophiles don’t stop offending, so these wanted fugitives are still trolling for victims. Some of these cats have been on the run for YEARS. All it takes to live among us is a new name and law abiding behavior and you just might be able to get away with Murder.

  6. Sara January 3, 2010 / 9:56 pm

    I remember that case from 1967. I always wondered about that case– there’s a post I found on Google from a supposed relative claiming that he had been abused and killed his parents in self-defense. Makes me wonder what the whole story is.

    Potential stupid question, but wouldn’t missing criminals be identified if they were arrested and charged with another crime? I’m assuming there is some kind of nationwide fingerprint database. Granted, it may not go back to 1967.

    • Meaghan January 4, 2010 / 1:02 pm

      Missing people COULD be identified if they were arrested — but only if their fingerprints were on file.

  7. Emma l January 4, 2010 / 2:02 pm

    Seems like common sense. If they are wanted for a serious crimesay by the FBI it usually says “do not approach, please contact xxxx relevant police if you see this person”. I am actually pretty suprised that they would even be listed as just missing.

  8. stanlee January 4, 2010 / 4:21 pm

    From the perspective of the family members of a “wanted” person, who haven’t heard from their loved one for years, that person is indeed “missing.” They don’t know if the person is dead or alive. They aren’t able to get family reference DNA samples into national databases for “wanted” people – but “missing” persons is another story.

    And by doing so, it’s hoped that maybe the family will finally know what happened to their loved one, and law enforcement will be able to close another case, freeing up more time and resources to locate other wanted persons.

  9. danielle January 4, 2010 / 5:38 pm

    I accidently went to Charleyproject.com and nothing came it. Scared me. Then I searched on Google and realized it was .net

      • danielle January 4, 2010 / 7:57 pm

        oh yeah…you’re right….One of “those” days for me I guess.

  10. Kat January 14, 2010 / 4:44 pm

    There’s a reason for Heather Johnson to be listed as missing. She was tracked to another state after this crime, but there’s concerns something happened to her there.

    • Meaghan January 14, 2010 / 4:50 pm

      Have you got any more details than that? I’d be interested to know.

  11. orla January 22, 2010 / 9:18 pm

    Commenting on this now as a documentary aired here last night featuring the case of Michelle McMullen who is featured on AMW as a fugitive but who PA police have described as “missing, but wanted”.

    Desperately sad…………I’m not sure what conculsions to draw, compelling arguements on both “she’s a fugitive” side and “she’s missing” side.

    • Meaghan January 22, 2010 / 9:44 pm

      I find it hard to believe that a person would walk away from everything over $2,000, but it’s happened before. One guy who was featured on Charley vanished for over ten years and took a different name and everything because he was wanted for stealing a few gallons of gas.

  12. orla January 23, 2010 / 12:34 am

    Yeah, I couldn’t see her leaving her son (who she seemed to adore) for €2000 either.

    But I suppose people get to a place in their head where they think their only option is disappear.

    Her family were devastated.


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