Last year one of the most notorious fugitives ever was taken off the FBI’s Most Wanted list – Osama Bin Laden.
When he was killed in Pakistan by the U.S. military last year he was taken off the list and it took almost an entire year until someone was placed on the list in his place. Eric Justin Toth – Toth, a former teacher and camp counselor, is facing child pornography charges and is currently a fugitive with up to a $100,000 for information leading to his arrest.
But why did it take so long to replace Bin Laden on the list? And why did they replace the world’s most dangerous terrorist with a former teacher who is suspected of child pornography? Surely there is someone on the planet who is more dangerous than a computer nerd posting ads online to be your nanny?
A couple interesting facts that might shed some light into the process of what it takes to make the FBI Most Wanted list:
1. Who decides which fugitives are placed on the FBI Most Wanted List?
The Criminal Investigative Division (CID) at FBI Headquarters calls upon all 56 Field Offices to submit candidates for the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list. The nominees received are reviewed by Special Agents in the CID and the Office of Public Affairs. The selection of the “proposed” candidate(s) is then forwarded to FBI Executive Management for final approval.
The individual must have a lengthy record of committing serious crimes and/or be considered a particularly dangerous menace to society due to current criminal charges. Second, it must be believed that the nationwide publicity afforded by the program can be of assistance in apprehending the fugitive, who, in turn, should not already be notorious due to other publicity.
2. Other interesting facts:
- The Ten Most Wanted are not ranked
- Only 8 women have been on the list since 1950
- Since 1950, 496 fugitives have been on the list
- Of the 496 fugitives on the list over the years, 466 have been located
- There are only 3 ways to get off the list:
1. Be killed or captured
2. The case against the fugitive is dismissed (not an FBI decision)
3. Fugitive no longer fits the “Most Wanted” criteria
The most recent fugitive on the list was Adam Mayes who was added on May 9th, 2012 – replacing James “Whitey” Bulger. Mayes was wanted for killing a woman, her daughter and kidnapping her two youngest daughters. Desperate to find the young girls alive, Mayes was placed on the list and within hours, with his face spread all over the United States, Mayes took his own life – leading to one of the shortest tenures on the FBI’s famous list. Who will be the one to replace Mayes? No one knows yet, but it will likely be someone who has the potential of causing imminent harm.
As of today, there are only 9 fugitives on the list, including Eric Justin Toth.
If you have any information that could help the FBI capture any of these fugitives please contact your nearest FBI field office.
Much of the information in this article was from the FBI’s website - www.fbi.gov/wanted/topten