Who would not know Osama Bin Laden? Bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader who orchestrated the September 11 bombings, was the most popular terrorist leader on the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ (FBI) Most Wanted List until his death in 2011.
The FBI has listed criminals like Bin Laden on the Most Wanted List in the hope of catching them through the help of people who could provide reliable information about their whereabouts.
The list was initially published in 1949 through the initiative of the International News Service (now known as United Press International) which asked the FBI to name the “toughest guys” they wish to capture. The article was a hit so that in 1950, the FBI decided to continue publishing the names of the most wanted criminals. The publicity is meant to trigger tips or information about the suspects.
The people on the list are nominees from the FBI’s field offices and are then evaluated by the Criminal Investigative Division (CID) at the FBI National Headquarters and the Office of Public Affairs. The subjects on the list are not ranked; rather, they are included according to how serious or dangerous their crimes are. Corresponding rewards for their capture are also posted.
A person on the list can only be removed if he/she has been apprehended, has died, if his/her case has been dismissed, of if the FBI deems that he/she is no longer a menace to society. Longest on the list is Victor Manuel Gerena, a Wells Fargo employee accused of armed robbery. He was on the list for 32 years.
The Current List of Most Wanted
At present, longest on the Most Wanted list is Robert William Fisher of Arizona. Fisher was charged with three counts of first-degree murder for killing his wife and two children after he learned of his wife’s intention to divorce him. He was to the list in 2002.
Alexis Flores was added to the list in 2007. Flores has been charged with the kidnapping and murder of a five-year-old girl in Philadephia, Pennsylvania in 2000.
Jason Derek Brown, charged with murder and armed robbery in Phoenix, Arizona, was also added to the list in 2007. Brown is accused of shooting and killing an armored car guard during a robbery.
Next on the list is Eduardo Ravelo. Ravelo is accused of crimes involving racketeering, money laundering, and illegal drugs. He was added in 2009.
William Bradford Bishop Jr. is on the list for the murder of his mother, wife and three sons in 1976. He was added in 2014.
Yaser Abdel Said is accused of murdering his two teenage daughters in 2008 in Irving, Texas. The victims sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Said was added in 2014.
Luis Macedo is accused of murder for allegedly initiating the attack on a 15-year-old boy in Chicago, Illinois in 2009. The boy was brutally killed – beaten, shot and burned to death after he refused to show a gang sign. Macedo was added on May 2016.
Robert Francis Van Wisse was added on the list in December 2016. He was accused of murder for the death of a 22-year-old woman in Austin, Texas in 1983. He eventually surrendered to authorities on January 2017 and pled guilty as charged. He has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Walter Yovany Gomez, a citizen of Honduras, is a known member of the MS-13 gang. He illegally entered the U.S. and on May 8, 2011, he and other gang members killed a rival gang member in Plainfield, New Jersey.
Bhadreshkumar Chetanbhai Patel is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and dangerous weapon with intent to injure for allegedly striking his wife with an object several times and eventually killed her. The two were reported as still at work in a donut shop in Hanover, Maryland when the incident happened on April 2015.
Both Gomez and Patel are the most recent addition to the list and were added only on April 2017.
A reward of $100,000 each (except for Brown whose reward was placed at $200,000) awaits anyone who could offer information leading to the arrest of these fugitives.