Friday, May 27, 2011

Top 10 Manhunts

In light of recent events, such as the death of Osama bin Laden, I thought it would be interesting to share this list of "Top 10 Manhunts" from  It's exactly what it implies:  a list of 10 of the most notorious man-hunts in history.

Raoul Moat
Raoul Moat-  The British former nightclub bouncer had been on the run in the north of England, having allegedly shot three people, killing one, just two days after his release from prison. Two accomplices who had allegedly helped Moat target police were arrested, but Moat himself remained at large in the countryside, where the difficult terrain hampered the search. But a significant update took place toward the end of the day Friday, when police confirmed that a man fitting Moat's description was negotiating with authorities. And after a tense six-hour stand-off, where it was reported Moat had been holding a shotgun, a police spokesman confirmed that the 37-year-old Moat took his own life in a field at Rothbury in Northumberland.
Saddam Hussein-  It's been said that when Saddam Hussein was in power, he rarely spent more than 10 hours straight in any one place. So when Baghdad fell on April 9, 2003, he wasn't waiting around in his palace for a Tony Montana–style showdown — he was already on the run. Despite reported sightings all over the country, the Ace of Spades in the Iraqi most-wanted deck was nowhere to be found. The allied forces found themselves increasingly desperate — no WMD, no Saddam, bad p.r. — but nine months later, they finally tracked him down outside Tikrit in a foxhole for one, supplied with an AK-47, some chocolate and $750,000 in cash. He was hanged three years later, on Dec. 30, 2006. The manhunt for WMD has been quietly discontinued.
Top 10 ManhuntsJohn Wilkes Booth-  The first man to kill an American President was chased with all the wrath of a wounded nation. After the April 14, 1865, assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Booth left Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., via the stage door — appropriate for an actor — and then fled south on horseback through Maryland, assisted by accomplices along the road. Troops flooded the state's swamps in search of Booth, who secretly crossed the Potomac into Virginia on April 21, the same day the funeral train bearing Lincoln's body left Washington for its westward procession. Thanks to intelligence tip-offs and the confessions of accomplices, Booth was tracked to the Virginia farm of Richard H. Garrett, and on April 26 he was shot and killed by Union soldiers who had set the barn he was in on fire. Booth died on the farmhouse porch, defending his actions to the last.

Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen MuhammadThe Beltway Snipers-  For three evil weeks in October 2002, nobody could walk the streets of Washington. A gunman was traveling down the Capital Beltway from Maryland to Virginia, and in 15 long-distance attacks, he had already left 10 dead and three others injured. He began leaving threats: "Your children are not safe, anywhere, at any time." Parents panicked; schools closed.
Police and the public initially fixated on white vans in the area, but focus eventually turned to a blue Chevrolet Caprice that was carrying gunman John Allen Muhammad and his juvenile accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo. The pair were arrested on a tip while at a rest stop in Maryland; the car's trunk bore a small hole through which the rifle was fired. Muhammad was executed on Nov. 10, 2009. Malvo is in prison serving six consecutive life sentences. The episode made a minor celebrity of Montgomery County police chief Charles Moose, who was in charge of the hunt for the killers. His persistence was rewarded with their capture and a book deal.

Top 10 ManhuntsAdolf Eichmann-  The "architect of the Holocaust" fled Germany at the end of World War II, slipping through U.S. fingers into Argentina, where he worked in obscurity as a foreman at a Mercedes-Benz factory in Buenos Aires. Nazi hunters made it their business to track down the man who had transported 6 million Jews to their deaths, but it was a blind, half-Jewish refugee from Dachau who finally found him. The daughter of Holocaust survivor Lothar Hermann got to know Eichmann's eldest son, and Hermann soon worked out who his father was and told the German authorities all he knew. The Germans passed on the news to Israeli intelligence service Mossad, and over the course of a year, its agents tracked down Eichmann and confirmed his identity. On May 11, 1960, Eichmann was coshed, drugged to the gills and snuck into Israel disguised as a particularly sluggish El Al airline steward. The Nazi logistics expert was found guilty in a widely televised trial and was hanged on May 31, 1962. His remains the only civil execution ever carried out in Israel.

former Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic attending a conference sponsored by Radovan Karadzic-  The former Bosnian Serb politician on trial in the Hague for war crimes evaded capture from 1996 to 2008. He was accused of causing the deaths of 8,000 refugees and the ethnic cleansing of 30,000 others in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, the largest mass murder in Europe since World War II. When indicted for genocide, Karadzic went on the lam and became a hero amongst the Bosnian Serb people, who helped him escape capture multiple times during his decade on the run. A tip-off, most likely from U.K. and U.S. intelligence agencies, led to the discovery of Karadzic in a clinic in Belgrade, where he had grown an enormous white beard and ponytail and was posing as specialist in alternative medicine, with a particular interest in "bioenergy," under the name Dragan David Dabic. The disguised Karadzic

Letter sent to the San Francisco Chronicle by the The Zodiac Killer-  The self-named Zodiac who terrorized Northern California in the late 1960s and early '70s has never been caught, despite extensive investigation by police and the press. The unidentified killer claimed responsibility for 37 murders in taunting letters to newspapers, although only seven were confirmed as his work. Zodiac's letters included four cryptograms, of which just one has been deciphered. Only one suspect, Arthur Leigh Allen, was ever served with a search warrant, but police found no conclusive evidence. The Zodiac letters stopped coming in the late '70s; Allen died in 1992. The case has been declared inactive, although it is periodically reopened as new (and thus far implausible) evidence comes forward. The case was given screen immortality in the 2007 David Fincher movie Zodiac — but Fincher didn't solve it either.

Top 10 ManhuntsNed Kelly-  The Australian bush ranger became one of the country's first folk heroes, appealing to the downtrodden poor who were fed up with their colonial British rulers. Declared outlaws after killing three policemen, Kelly and his gang lost themselves in the southeastern Australian bush, robbing two banks and, in one episode, burning the townspeople's mortgage contracts. Finally cornered by police in the town of Glenrowan, the four members of the Kelly gang emerged in enormous homemade suits of armor, lurching toward petrified policemen as bullets bounced off their chests. The armor did not cover Kelly's lower half, though; he was shot in the legs and, unlike the rest of the gang, captured alive. Kelly was hanged on Nov. 11, 1880. The story goes that his last words were, "Such is life."

crimes of the century unabomberTheodore "Ted" Kaczynski-  The 18-year search for the Unabomber was the U.S.'s longest and most expensive hunt for a serial killer. Ted Kaczynski, a brilliant mathematician accepted to Harvard at age 16, sent 16 bombs — handcrafted with wooden parts — across the country from 1978 to 1995, killing three and wounding 23. Despite an accurate psychological profile, a $1 million reward and extensive forensic investigation, the FBI couldn't get a handle on the case. It took the 1995 publication of his rambling manifesto in the New York Times and the Washington Post for the bomber to be located: Kaczynski's brother David recognized the prose and tipped off the police. Kaczynski was arrested on April 3, 1996, at his Montana log cabin. He is serving a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole. His brother still writes him monthly, without reply.

Osama bin Laden, in a video that aired on the eve of the second anniversary of the 9/11 attacksOsama bin Laden-  The U.S. had been after bin Laden since the 1998 African embassy bombings. The 13-year manhunt had so little to show for it, some suspected he had died because he hadn't appeared on video since 2007, although audio tapes purportedly of his voice periodically surfaced. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates once admitted that there had been no reliable information for years as to his whereabouts. Bin Laden was generally assumed to be hiding in Pakistan, and that's where 52-year-old Coloradan construction worker Gary Faulkner was detained while looking for him in June 2010. Sent, he says, on a mission from God, Faulkner was found toting a 40-in.-long sword, a pistol, night-vision goggles and a pair of plastic handcuffs. According to Faulkner's brother, the wannabe bounty hunter had, during his six trips to the country, found a cave and "a bearded man in a white robe speaking on a walkie-talkie." But it turns out, Faulkner wasn't that close. On May 1, 2011, Bin Laden was killed by U.S. special operations forces in Abottabad, Pakistan, 35 miles north of the capital, much farther from the Afghan-Pakistan border than most people, including Faulkner, believed.

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