The FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives is a most wanted list maintained by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The list arose from a conversation held in late 1949 between J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI, and William Kinsey Hutchinson, International News Service (the predecessor of the United Press International) editor-in-chief, who were discussing ways to promote capture of the FBI’s “toughest guys”. This discussion turned into a published article, which received so much positive publicity that on March 14, 1950, the FBI officially announced the list to increase law enforcement’s ability to capture dangerous fugitives.
Individuals are generally only removed from the list if the fugitive is captured, dies, or if the charges against them are dropped; they are then replaced by a new entry selected by the FBI. In nine cases, the FBI removed individuals from the list after deciding that they were no longer a “particularly dangerous menace to society”. Machetero member Víctor Manuel Gerena, added to the list in 1984, was on the list for 32 years, which was longer than anyone else. Billie Austin Bryant spent the shortest amount of time on the list, being listed for two hours in 1969. The oldest person to be added to the list was William Bradford Bishop on April 10, 2014 at 77 years old. On rare occasions, the FBI will add a “Number Eleven” if that individual is extremely dangerous but the Bureau does not feel any of the current ten should be removed. Despite occasional references in the media, the FBI does not rank their list; no suspect is considered “#1 on the FBI’s Most Wanted List” or “The Most Wanted.”
The list is commonly posted in public places such as post offices. In many cases, fugitives on the list have turned themselves in on becoming aware of their listing. As of December 4, 2014, 504 fugitives had been listed, eight of them women, and 473 (94%) captured or located, 155 (31%) of them due to public assistance. On May 19, 1996, Leslie Isben Rogge became the first person on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list to be apprehended due to the Internet. The FBI maintains other lists of individuals, including the Most Wanted Terrorists, along with crime alerts, missing persons, and other fugitive lists.
On June 17, 2013, the list reached a cumulative total of 500 fugitives having been listed.
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