Over the years, many notorious criminals have been featured on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. This elite list of fugitives represents some of the Bureau’s highest priority targets. Placing a suspect on this list is a powerful tool to bring public attention to particularly dangerous individuals who are on the loose. Since its inception in 1950, 518 fugitives have been captured or located as a direct result of being placed on the Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
Some criminals manage to elude capture for years or even decades after being named to the Most Wanted list. Others are located and arrested relatively quickly. When a fugitive on the list is captured, dies, or if the case is closed for other reasons, they are removed and replaced by a new addition. This rotation means the list is constantly changing as suspects come and go.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the most high-profile criminals who have been removed from the notorious FBI Most Wanted list over the years. Examining these former fugitives provides insight into this unique FBI initiative and the agency’s tireless efforts to bring justice to the nation’s most dangerous offenders.
Criminals Removed From the List
Here is a look at some of the major criminals who were once featured on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list but have since been located and removed:
Ted Bundy was a notorious serial killer who was added to the Most Wanted list in 1978. He had been terrorizing women across multiple states for years. Bundy was wanted for assault, kidnapping, and murder. He used his charm and good looks to lure his victims before beating, raping, and killing them.
After years on the run, Bundy was finally arrested in 1978 for a traffic violation. He was convicted and sentenced to death. Bundy was removed from the Most Wanted list soon after his capture and remained on death row until his execution in 1989. Before his death, he confessed to 30 homicides between 1974 and 1978.
Ramzi Yousef, born Abdul Basit Mahmoud Abdul Karim, was added to the Most Wanted list in 1993 for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The attack killed 6 people and injured over 1000. He had fled to Pakistan after assembling the bomb.
Yousef was finally captured in 1995 in Islamabad, Pakistan. He was hiding out at an Islamic terrorist training camp. After a lengthy trial, he was sentenced to 240 years in prison for the World Trade Center bombing. He remains imprisoned at the supermax facility ADX Florence in Colorado.
Eric Rudolph was added to the list in 1998 after carrying out a deadly bombing at a Birmingham abortion clinic that killed an off-duty police officer and critically injured a nurse. Rudolph had previously set off three other bombs in Atlanta, including at the 1996 Olympics.
Rudolph spent over 5 years on the run in the Appalachian wilderness before he was finally arrested in 2003. He was scavenging for food behind a grocery store when caught. Rudolph is currently serving multiple life sentences at the ADX Florence supermax prison for his crimes.
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden was named to the list in 1999 due to his role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. The simultaneous attacks killed 224 people and injured thousands. Bin Laden had declared war on the United States as the head of the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda.
Bin Laden would go on to mastermind the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001 from his base in Afghanistan. He evaded capture for over a decade after 9/11 despite a massive manhunt. Bin Laden was finally located and killed in 2011 by U.S. Navy Seals during a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
James “Whitey” Bulger
James “Whitey” Bulger was a notorious Boston mob boss who spent 16 years on the run before joining the Most Wanted list in 1999. He had been charged with multiple murders, racketeering, and extortion. Bulger was warned by a corrupt FBI agent that he was about to be arrested and fled just before capture in 1994.
Bulger spent years in hiding and evaded law enforcement despite reported sightings and a $2 million reward. He was finally captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, California, where he had been living under an assumed identity. In 2013, Bulger was found guilty of 11 murders and a host of other charges. He was killed in 2018 at USP Hazelton just after being transferred there.
Jason Derek Brown
Jason Derek Brown was placed on the Top Ten list in 2007 after allegedly murdering a guard during an armored car robbery in Phoenix, Arizona in late 2004. He took $56,000 from the robbery and disappeared.
Brown has managed to evade capture for over 15 years despite being featured on America’s Most Wanted and the FBI offering a reward of up to $200,000. There have been reported sightings of him in multiple states and even internationally, but he remains at large. The FBI is still actively searching for Brown and considers him armed and extremely dangerous.
Other Notable Removals
In addition to those high-profile examples, many other dangerous fugitives have been located and taken off the Most Wanted list over the years. Some other notable examples include:
– Victor Manuel Gerena – Wanted for a 1983 Wells Fargo depot robbery. Caught in 1985.
– George Wright – Escaped from prison in 1970. Caught in 2011.
– William Bradford Bishop – Wanted for killing his family in 1976. Remains at large.
– Alexis Flores – Kidnapped and murdered a 5-year-old girl. Caught in 2005.
– Glen Stewart Godwin – Murderer who escaped from prison in 1987. Remains a fugitive.
– Fidel Urbina – Raped and beat a woman in 1998. Captured in Mexico in 2011.
– Robert Fisher – Wanted for killing his family in 2001. Still at large.
– Yaser Abdel Said – Wanted for murdering his daughters in 2008. Captured in 2020.
– Eduardo Ravelo – Wanted as a hitman for a Texas crime syndicate. Still a fugitive.
Current FBI Most Wanted List
Today, the FBI’s Most Wanted list continues to identify the Bureau’s highest priority targets. As of October 2022, the list includes:
|Yulan Adonay Archaga Carias
|Wanted for a brutal MS-13 related murder in Long Island, New York in 2011.
|Wanted for brutally murdering his wife just after their wedding in 2012.
|Alejandro Rosales Castillo
|Wanted for a murderous attack on a teenage boy in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2016.
|Jose Rodolfo Villarreal-Hernandez
|Believed to be a senior member of the Beltran Leyva drug cartel in Mexico.
|Mexican drug lord wanted for murdering a DEA agent in 1985.
|Queen of the cryptocurrency Ponzi scheme OneCoin. Defrauded investors of $4 billion.
|Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel
|Wanted for killing his wife in a Maryland donut shop in 2015.
|Murdered his ex-wife in 2008 in front of their young children.
|Greg Alyn Carlson
|Wanted for brutal sexual assault and burglary.
|Santiago Villalba Mederos
|Member of United Blood Nation gang. Wanted for two murders.
For over 70 years, the FBI’s Most Wanted list has identified high-profile fugitives who represent urgent threats to public safety. Placement on the list brings intensive law enforcement focus and national attention to perpetrators who have evaded capture.
Some of the most notorious criminals in history have been listed among the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted, including Ted Bundy, Osama bin Laden, and Whitey Bulger. Though many are eventually located and brought to justice, some fugitives manage to elude authorities for years or forever. When a suspect on the list is captured or dies, they are removed and the FBI begins the process of selecting a new addition to take their place.
Today, the Bureau continues its work to track down fugitives like cartel leader Rafael Caro-Quintero, murderer Arnoldo Jimenez, and fraudster Ruja Ignatova. The FBI’s Most Wanted list plays a key role in furthering the agency’s mission to protect the public and uphold the law.