Pursued by the FBI: The Most WAnted List

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Politics & Government

Fifty-three year old bank robber Henry Clay Tollett was serving time at the federal penitentiary on McNeil Island on November 22, 1949, when he tucked himself into a shipment of convict-produced furniture and hitched an unauthorized ride off the island.  A few months later in Washington, DC, FBI chief J Edgar Hoover added him to a list his bureau began only three weeks earlier: the now famous FBI’s Most Wanted.

Hoover’s list debuted March 14, 1950, and assigned a number to each successive addition.  Tollett, added April 11, was #13 overall.  He was also the first listee with a Washington connection.

Over more than sixty years, the FBI has processed nearly 500 killers, terrorists, bombers, and armed robbers.  At least twenty of those men were born, committed crimes, escaped, or were apprehended in our state.  Today’s WA-List takes a look them.

A sampling: Ted Bundy, who is easily the most famous serial killer in United States history; Joseph Corbett, who murdered a prominent member of the Coors beer family; and Henry Young, a man who attempted an escape from Alcatraz, succeeded in an escape from Walla Walla, was portrayed on silver screen by Kevin Bacon, and whose whereabouts remain unknown today.

[A few famous Northwest criminals who do not appear here: John Turnow and Harry Tracy preceded the FBI's list, while D. B. Cooper and the Green River Killer weren't fugitives; they were unknown.]

Facts from this group:  The average fugitive was caught a short 8 1/2 months after the FBI set its sights on him.  Leslie Rogge, the last man on the list, stayed free for 6 years, 4 months — four times longer than anyone else.  Bundy spent only 4 days on the list before being recaptured.  There have been women on the FBI’s list, but none appear to have been connected to our state.  Eight men were apprehended in Washington.  (Fifteen states have caught more; California leads with 60 captures. Alaska, Delaware, and Maine haven’t caught any.)

THE FBI’S MOST WANTED FUGITIVES WITH A WASHINGTON CONNECTION


13. Henry Clay Tollett (1894-1951)

Wanted: for escaping prison, robbery, kidnapping, and weapons charges.  Tollett had been serving a 25 year bank robbery sentence at McNeil Island Penitentiary in Puget Sound, when he managed to stow away with a collection of furniture being shipped off the island.  After his escape on November 22, 1949, he managed to stay hidden for nineteen months, eventually reaching to Redding, California, where he was killed in a gunfight when the highway patrol identified him in a stolen car.

Added to the Most Wanted list: April 11, 1950.
Killed: June 4, 1951.

The FBI said: “Tollett was fatally wounded by a California Highway Patrol officer during the attempt to apprehend him. He was in a stolen car in Redding, California.”


55. Jack Gordon White (1919-?)

Wanted: after escaping a Florida prison camp in August, 1952, where he was serving a 30-year sentence for armed robbery and other crimes.  It’s estimated he robbed 38 places in all, primarily gas stations and liquor stores.  His wife and daughter lived in Washington.

Added to the Most Wanted list: July 6, 1953.
Caught: August 27, 1953.

The FBI said: “White was recognized by a police officer who remembered him from an Identification Order. FBI and police were called to the area of downtown Seattle, Washington. After determining the make of the vehicle he was driving, FBI Agents were able to locate him. A traffic stop was made and White was apprehended without incident.”  The policeman who recognized him in Seattle didn’t have a car radio so he had no choice but trail White without backup for a while.  He finally stopped to make a call after he lost his suspect.


58. Lloyd Reed Russell (1921-1954)

Wanted: after two violent prison breaks (Ohio, 1950 and Michigan, 1953).  He had a long string of armed robberies before that.  He traveled under the alias of Raymond Kidd during his last year on the run, partnering with Norman Wyatt and holding up supermarkets, including Rosauer’s Market in Spokane.  His brother aided in his 1950 escape.

Added to the Most Wanted list: September 8, 1953.
Killed: August 3, 1954.

The FBI said: “Russell was killed during a gun battle with local police officers in Spokane, Washington.” He and Wyatt were hiding in a parked blue Cadillac, which police were checking out because of its connection with the latest supermarket robbery.


66. Alex Whitmore (?-?)

Wanted: for the August 14, 1950, hatchet attack on hitchhiker Ralph Williams in Virginia.  Whitmore stole $18 cash, and some trinkets, and left Williams for dead.  Williams survived to ID Whitmore later the same day.  But Whitmore escaped the hospital to which police led him and evaded authorities in Florida, Texas, and California.

Added to the Most Wanted list: January 11, 1954.
Caught: May 10, 1954.

The FBI said: “Whitmore was arrested in Seattle, Washington, after a citizen recognized him from a television broadcast.”  The People’s Almanac added: “A nervous Whitmore told FBI agents during his arrest in Seattle that he was “scared” and “knew it was just a matter of time” before he was picked up.”


91. Thurman Arthur Green (?-?)

Wanted: for armed robbery.  He was in the sixth year of a six year stint at Walla Walla, when he saw an opportunity to escape with two other inmates.  On May 21, 1954, they crawled under a fence to freedom.  The other two men were caught in Iowa, but Green eluded capture, and continued to Tennessee.  There he became Frank DuMonte, got an honest job, and married.  Neighbors later recognized him from a wanted poster.

Added to the Most Wanted list: October 24, 1955.
Caught: February 16, 1956.

The FBI said: “Due to an FBI investigation, Green was arrested in Nashville, Tennessee. Green had sent his wife to stay with relatives and was home alone in bed recuperating from a toothache. He told the officers, ‘I was expecting you yesterday.'”


127. Joseph Corbett Jr (1928-2009)

Wanted: for murdering Adolph Coors III, the beer magnate.  Corbett was born in Seattle, but his criminal history was elsewhere.  He had already been jailed for second degree murder of an Air Force sergeant in California in 1949, but busted out and took on the alias of Walter Osbourne.  In January, 1960, Corbett, then living in Colorado, intercepted the 44-year-old Coors on his way to an executive meeting at his office.  He shot the brewer twice in the back and left his body in a trash dump.  It wasn’t found until September.  By then, the FBI knew their prey due to a positive ID on a car seen near Coors’ abandoned station wagon.  Corbett meanwhile moved to Canada.  When a major magazine highlighted Corbett, a former coworker recognized him and notified authorities.  The hunt led to Winnipeg and ended at a Vancouver apartment.  Corbett was tried in Colorado, sentenced to life in prison, and paroled in 1978. He committed suicide 31 years later, age 80.

Added to the Most Wanted list: March 30, 1960.
Caught: October 29, 1960.

The FBI said: “Corbett was apprehended in Vancouver, British Columbia, by Canadian police after two Canadian citizens recognized Corbett from a November 1960 Reader’s Digest article.”


157. Hugh Bion Morse (1930-?)

Wanted: for multiple murders and rapes in several states.  Morse’s rap sheet was long, and grew longer after he was apprehended.  He abducted and raped one woman and murdered at least three women in Spokane alone.  An extended list would include rapes, murders, attempted murders, stalkings, and assaults on women in Alabama, California, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina.  He had previously been arrested for burglary and indecent exposure.  He claimed to have been abused by his grandmother as a child, and lived a life of anger and violence from then on.

Added to the Most Wanted list: August 29, 1961.
Caught: October 13, 1961.

The FBI said: “Morse was arrested in St. Paul, Minnesota, the evening after a visitor to the FBI Tour in Washington, D.C., recognized his photo displayed on the ‘Top Ten’ Exhibit.”  He was sentenced to two life terms in Minnesota in December, 1961.


178. Howard Jay Barnard (1924-?)

Wanted: for armed robbery.  Barnard typically hit stores for cash after altering his appearance.  He used make-up, cotton balls, an extra layer of clothes, and other techniques to make is face and ears look different, and to appear heavier than he was.  Once transformed, he’d rob the bar or market, and escape to resume living as himself.  Twenty years and three convictions into his criminal career, he was serving a sentence in Seattle in 1962, when he escaped and caught the attention of the FBI.  One article reported him saying that he would “kill to avoid arrest and has vowed not to be taken alive.” (Lewiston Evening Journal, April 13, 1963)

Added to the Most Wanted list: April 12, 1963.
Caught: April 6, 1964.

The FBI said: “Barnard was arrested in North Sacramento, California, by local police after robbing a motel of $1,000. At the time of his apprehension, Barnard was wearing two sets of clothes, actor’s makeup and gold hair. He had cotton stuffed in his nose and mouth to disguise his face. Officers had to remove glue from his hands so he could be fingerprinted.”


217. Robert Allen Woodford (b.1939; still living)

Wanted: after he was mistakenly released by authorities. What?  It’s true.  He had a violent temper and was known to molest young girls, but ended up in jail for the armed robbery of a San Jose market.  He was serving a long sentence for that when a grand jury charged him with a bank robbery. In December, 1964, a San Francisco court dismissed his bank charge because he was locked up for the other robbery already.  Things got mixed up and they let him walk from both crimes.  Authorities caught the mistake a few days later, but Woodford quickly robbed a San Francisco bank and fled.  He hid out in Seattle.

Added to the Most Wanted list: July 2, 1965.
Caught: August 5, 1965.

The FBI said: “Woodford was arrested in Seattle, Washington, by the FBI after a citizen recognized him from a Wanted Flyer.”


255. John D. Slaton (?-?)

Wanted: for shooting at police.  Slaton was a small-time con artist but panicked in October, 1965, when police arrived at his trailer in Oroville, Washington to question him about some bad checks.  He tried to flee by car, got penned in, and began shooting at the police with his rifle.  He managed to ran away and stay on the lam for two years. He managed only four months of freedom, however, once he was named to the FBI list.

Added to the Most Wanted list: August 2, 1967.
Caught: December 1, 1967.

The FBI said: “Due to an FBI investigation, Slaton was arrested in Harquahala Valley, Arizona.”


258. Henry Theodore Young (b.1918; still living?)

Wanted: for murder, bank robbery and hostage taking. Young ran afoul with the law and got locked up in state prisons in Montana and Washington while in his 20s,. He was was sent to the the federal prison system for the first time in 1935, at McNeil Island, for a murder he committed two years ealier.  He was serving a sentence at Alcatraz when he and four other inmates tried a prison break on January 13, 1939. One his partners was shot and killed in the attempt and everyone else was recaptured. A year later he killed one of his escape attempt partners (Rufus McCain) by stabbing him in the throat with a spoon. He was transferred to a Missouri facility in 1948, then sent to the state penitentiary in Walla Walla, when his federal sentence expired. He escaped on June 8, 1967, landed on the FBI’s most wanted list, and was recognized from a magazine photo a few months later.

Added to the Most Wanted list: September 21, 1967.
Caught: January 9, 1968.

The FBI said: “Young was arrested in Kansas City, Missouri, after a citizen recognized him from an article in Inside Detective magazine.”  Young was released in 1972, skipped out on parole, and hasn’t been seen since.  He was portrayed by Kevin Bacon in Murder in the First, a highly fictionalized 1995 movie.


269. Troy Denver Martin (1927-?)

Wanted: for murder and kidnapping.  Martin had already been known for forgery, but his crimes escalated when he became enraged and shot an in-law in the back.  He loaded the dead body in his pickup truck and drove up.  He skidded off an icy Michigan road, though.  He left the truck and body behind and used his gun to kidnap a farmer, making him drive to Toledo, Ohio.  Once freed, the farmer told police about the body in the truck and the manhunt began.  It lasted about seven weeks.

Added to the Most Wanted list: March 9, 1968.
Caught: March 19, 1968.

The FBI said: “Martin was arrested in Seattle, Washington, after an employment agency manager recognized him from his Identification Order.”  Martin had been working as a day laborer under the alias Bruce Collins.


331. Richard Dean Holtan (1935-?)

Wanted: for murder and bank robbery.  With a twenty year criminal history preceding it, Holtan robbed a bank in Seattle in November, 1973.  It netted him $1000 and a light one-year sentence in a half-way house once authorities caught up with him.  But it was clearly too restrictive for his tastes.  He escaped and soon robbed a tavern in Omaha, leaving one man dead and two wounded.  He made the FBI’s list and was recognized even as far away as Hawaii.

Added to the Most Wanted list: April 18, 1975.
Caught: July 12, 1975.

The FBI said: “Holtan surrendered to local authorities in Kauai, Hawaii.”


341. Nathaniel Doyle, Jr (1945-76)

Wanted: for armed bank robberies in Ohio, Indiana, and California.  The last one led to a gunfight with the highway patrol in Fresno.  He and his girlfriend Barbara Brinkley staged another bank robbery in Bellevue in July, 1976.  This time he slipped up.  Or rather she did.  They rented a car to serve as a getaway vehicle for the heist.  Not only did Brinkley return the car to the agency after the hit, but she had used her real name and address in the paperwork.  Police found Doyle (and Brinkley’s son) at the apartment.  There he started one last gunfight.

Added to the Most Wanted list: April 29, 1976.
Killed: July 15, 1976.

The FBI said: “Doyle was killed in a gun battle with local police in Seattle, Washington.”


347. Benjamin George Pavan (1939-?)

Wanted: for armed robbery and auto theft.  Most of his crimes took place in and around San Francisco in the mid 1970s, but when the heat was turned up, he fled to Seattle to hide.

Added to the Most Wanted list: January 12, 1977.
Caught: February 17, 1977.

The FBI said: “Pavan was arrested in Seattle, Washington, after a tip from a telephone call.”


360. Theodore Robert Bundy (1946-89)

Wanted: “for twice escaping from jail, June 9, 1977 and in December 1977, while being held on a murder charge.”  So much has been written about Ted Bundy, it would be difficult to cover everything within the space of this list.  Here’s a summary.  He was born in Vermont in 1946, moved with his mother to Tacoma four years later, attended Wilson High School, the University of Puget Sound, and the University of Washington.  He was later accepted into two law school programs.  His criminal story began early, though precisely when is a matter of speculation.  We know that he stole skiing equipment and a car while still in high school, but he may have begun killing women in 1973 (Tumwater), 1972 (Seattle), 1969 (New Jersey), or even earlier.  One theory connects him to the death of an 8-year old girl in 1961 (Tacoma).  By the mid 1970s, though, his innocent-looking charm was giving way to the serial killer reputation he is known for today.  He had kidnapped a woman in Utah, and raped and murdered a Colorado woman shortly after being released from Utah.  During a recess, he escaped custody when left alone in an Aspen courtroom.  He was recaptured about a week later, but escaped a maximum security prison through a one-foot hole later that year.  Authorities working on the case began connecting Bundy to a growing number of murders — perhaps as high as 35 or 40 women in four states.

Added to the Most Wanted list: February 10, 1978.
Caught: February 14, 1978.

The FBI said: “Bundy was arrested in Pensacola, Florida, by local police after he was stopped for speeding while driving a stolen vehicle.”  He was convicted of multiple murders in Florida in June, 1979.  He was executed on January 24, 1989.


387. Wai-Chiu “Tony” Ng (b.1956; still living)

Wanted: for participating in the Wa Mee Massacre in Seattle’s International District, Feb 19, 1983.   Ng and two other men entered the Chinese gambling house known as the Wah Mee Club (Maynard Alley between South 7th and Maynard), hog-tied 14 victims, robbed them, then shot them in the back.  It was the worst mass murder in the city’s history.  One man survived the massacre, and helped identify the killers.  Ng’s two partners were apprehended immediately, but Ng fled to Hong Kong (his birthplace) and Canada, where the FBI list finally caught up to him.

Added to the Most Wanted list: June 15, 1984.
Caught: October 4, 1984.

The FBI said: “Ng was arrested in Calgary, Alberta, Canada by Royal Canadian Mounted Police.” He was charged on 13 counts of aggravated first-degree murder, but was acquitted of murder in April, 1985.  Instead, he was convicted on 13 counts of first-degree robbery.  He remains in prison on a sentence of seven consecutive life terms.


392. Charles Earl Hammond (1942-?)

Wanted: (with his brother Michael) for murder. He was born in Seattle.  The two brothers were connected to a drug-deal-related massacre in Kansas City on May 29, 1980, in which five people were shot to death and another person barely survived.

Added to the Most Wanted list: March 14, 1985.
Removed: August 4, 1986.

The FBI said: “Federal process against Hammond was dismissed in Kansas City, Missouri.”  Prosecutors called off the manhunt, and asked the FBI to remove them from the list.


395. David Jay Sterling (1945-?)

Wanted: for rape and armed robbery.  Born in Vancouver, Washington, Sterling was convicted as a serial rapist active in Vancouver’s Hazel Dell area.  He was sentenced to five life sentences and sent to Western State Hospital.  Three years into his term, Sterling walked off the hospital grounds.  He and another man took bank robbery while on the run in Nevada.

Added to the Most Wanted list: September 30, 1985.
Caught: February 19, 1986.

The FBI said: “Sterling was arrested after being pulled over in a routine traffic stop near Covington, Louisiana, by local police.”  He was sent back to Washington and — this time — kept behind bars.


397. Joseph William Dougherty (1940-?)

Wanted: for armed robbery.  Dougherty and another man hatched a novel plan to rob banks.  They visited bank employees at home the night before a heist and at gunpoint walked in with them in the early morning.  They pulled this off for the first time in Oklahoma in 1982.  Both men were arrested (separately) over the next three years but Dougherty managed to pull off solo robberies in Arizona and Utah before his capture.  Escaping a prison transport bus together in 1985, they robbed a bank in Wisconsin, then did the stay-the-night-and-rob-the-bank-in-the-morning crime again in Nevada in 1985, and finally in Hazel Dell, Washington on June 30-July 1, 1986.  The family they held hostage the night before were locked in the First Independent Bank safe  with six employees while the criminals fled with $225,000.

Added to the Most Wanted list: November 6, 1985.
Caught: December 19, 1986.

The FBI said: “Dougherty was arrested by FBI Agents in Antioch, California, outside a local laundromat.”


405. Danny Michael Weeks (1954-?)

Wanted: for murder, kidnapping, and armed robbery.  Weeks was serving a 99 year sentence in Louisiana for carrying out a contract killing and armed robbery when he and a prison mate escape the penitentiary, kidnapped a woman, and forced her to drive them to Houston.  The abducted a second woman there and forced her on a drive to El Paso.  Weeks continued his run with an another kidnapping in North Carolina, and bank robberies in Texas, Arizona, and Iowa.

Added to the Most Wanted list: September 9, 1986.
Caught: March 20, 1988.

The FBI said: “Weeks was arrested at his son’s home in Seattle, Washington, by an FBI Task Force.”  He had been featured on one of the first episodes of the America’s Most Wanted television show the month before.


413. Darren Dee O’Neall (b.1960; still living)

Wanted: for rape and murder.  O’Neall picked up a 22-year-old Puyallup woman at a bar in March, 1987, and murdered her.  The car involved was traced to an Idaho man from whom it had been stolen a few months earlier by a hitchhiker with J-U-N-E tattooed on his knuckles.  Another woman disappeared in late April and fingerprints found matched O’Neall.  Further crimes (including at least three murders) in Idaho, Utah, and Louisiana gradually tied the man with the knuckle tattoos and fingerprints together.  Authorities also noticed that O’Neall was a fan of western writer Louis L’amour.  All his aliases matched characters in L’amour’s books.  At one point the FBI even asked to see the author’s fan letters.  Sure enough, O’Neall had written some.

Added to the Most Wanted list: Jun 25, 1987.
Caught: October 25, 1987.

The FBI said: “O’Neall was arrested in Lakeland, Florida, by the Lakeland Police Department on auto theft charges. When his fingerprints were compared to those on record, he was identified.”  He was sentenced to life in prison, January, 1989.


430. Leslie Ibsen Rogge (1949-?)

Wanted:  for bank robbery.   Rogge was born in Seattle, but robbed banks throughout the country.  He was sent to prison in Idaho at one point, but escaped.  Eventually he fled to Guatemala, took up the alias Bill Young, and worked as a handyman.  Soon after Guatemala connected to the Internet in the mid1990s, the handyman helped a neighbor set up their computer.  The neighbor’s 14-year old son was browsing the web two weeks later and happened to look at the Most Wanted List on the FBI’s website.  The boy recognized the handyman and his family called in the tip. Rogge managed to evade the FBI a while longer, running off to another town, but was eventually convinced he’d be better off turning himself to the American embassy that getting shot by local police.  The Seattle-born man is considered to be the first fugitive to have been caught due to the Internet.

Added to the Most Wanted list: January 24, 1990.
Caught: May 19, 1996.

The FBI said: “Rogge surrendered to the FBI at the United States Embassy in Guatemala City, Guatemala, after an individual saw his photo on the FBI’s website and notified authorities. Tips from America’s Most Wanted also contributed to his arrest.”


PHOTOS: The mugshots were culled from the FBI’s website on Feb 24, 2013.  Some were cropped to display the faces more centrally within their frames.

SOURCES:  This unexpectedly became our longest WA-List by word count ever.  It was certainly not a joyous project by any means, but it filled a definite void in our coverage of Washington’s story.  It took almost a month of researching and writing to compile.  At first we suspected only eight to ten men would match our Washington-connected criteria, but other crimes turned up as we delved deeper.  More resources were needed to fact-check and complete.

The FBI’s website was our primary source.  All unattributed comments within quotes above were pulled directly from the FBI.  Other information was gleaned from The Encyclopedia of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List by Duane Swierczynski (2004), the Seattle Times (July 16, 1976, p.B3), and websites including HistoryLink.org‘s article on the Wah Mee Massacre, AlcatrazHistory.com, and Murdepedia: The Encyclopedia of Murderers.  We were unable to find death dates for several of the criminals in our list.

Finally, we admit this is probably a partial list.  Jack Harvey Raymond (FBI #88), for instance, went on the lam after escaping custody on his way to the prison in Walla Walla.  That’s a thin connection and we left him out.  Some FBI Top Tenners’ biographical information was spotty, too.  Just about all the fugitives were well-traveled, after all, and we can only assume some fugitives not listed here were born or committed a crime in Washington.  The only element we know to be complete: we’ve included all the Most Wanted apprehended here.

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