The FBI’s Most Wanted list, started in 1950 at the urging of J. Edgar Hoover, is the last place criminals want to end up, besides prison. The highly publicized list enlists the public’s help to find hardened fugitives, often escapees.
To identify the most wanted criminals of the 1960s, 24/7 Tempo reviewed FBI data on over 500 current and former listees. We defined “most wanted” as those on the list the longest without being caught.
Some notorious criminals aren’t included because they were only on the list briefly before capture, like James Earl Ray, Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin, who was arrested in the UK after 2 months.
Since its start, 492 of 529 listees have been caught, 163 by citizens. Many early listees were captured before publication or evaded capture entirely. (These are the most wanted criminals of the 1950s.)
The FBI sometimes removes criminals without arrest, like if charges are dropped, they’re deemed no longer a high danger, or they died. John Gibson Dillon was removed after being found dead at the bottom of a well, wired to 400 pounds of drilling gear, ending his 3 years on the list.
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