A former college professor accused of going overseas to have sex with minors has become the 500th person to hold a spot on the FBI's famous Ten Most Wanted List. The felonious milestone was reached this week when two new names were added to the list of America's worst at-large criminals. Jose Manuel Garcia Guevera became the 499th fugitive (he's wanted for a 2008 rape and murder), and Walter Lee Williams joined him shortly after. Williams, who once taught at USC, has a federal arrest warrant out on him for "sexual exploitation of children, travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places."
The list was created as a publicity gimmick in 1949, but quickly became the go-to registry for America's worst fiends. Some of the names to be included on the list over the years include Osama bin Laden, Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph, mobster Whitey Bulger, cult leader Warren Jeffs, and serial killer Ted Bundy.
The FBI's Most Wanted has had a surprisingly high success rate, as well. Of the other 490 people who have appeared on list previously, 455 were captured or killed by authorities. Of the remaining fugitives, 14 of them died or committed suicide and 15 were taken off the list because they had their federal charges dropped. Only six "wanted" people have been removed from the list because they were "no longer considered to be a particularly dangerous menace to society." (In some cases, they were never found, but were presumed dead.)
Usually, someone has to be caught or die for the list to be updated, but there have been 13 "special additions" that pushed the list beyond 10 members. Those additions were for particularly noteworthy criminals, like James Earl Ray (the murderer of Martin Luther King) and the original World Trade Center bomber, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef.
Here are some other "fun" facts, courtesy of the FBI website:
- The minimum reward for anyone on the list is $100,000, but sometimes more is offered. One current member has a $1,000,000 bounty.
- Of the 455 "apprehensions," 155 of them were the direct result of public tips and 127 are credited to the publicity of the list itself. Two of those tips came from people who saw the list while taking a tour of the FBI offices.
- Only eight women have ever been on the list.
- At least one person from the list has been caught every year, except 1993, 2005, and 2010. The most ever found in one year was 33, in 1968.
- "Top Ten" fugitives have been apprehended in every state except Alaska, Maine, and Delaware.
- Seventeen "Top Ten" fugitives were caught because they were featured on the TV show, "America's Most Wanted."
- Six people have been on the list twice, inclduing James Earl Ray. (He briefly escaped prison in 1977.)
- The man who has been on the list the longest is Victor Manuel Gerena, who was added in 1984 and is still on it today.
- The shortest amount of time anyone has spent on the list is two hours.