Fugitive In Oregon Torture Case Caught After 24 Years

After almost 24 years on the run, a fugitive wanted in regards to the kidnapping and torture of two Oregon women has been caught. Paul Erven Jackson was arrested in a hotel on Monday in Guadalajara, Mexico before leaving for his job at an electronics store in a combined effort by Mexican immigration authorities and the U.S. Marshals. It’s uncertain how many of the 24 years he actually spent in Mexico, but it was discovered that he had been living there for several years before being caught under the alias name Paul Bennett Hamilton.

The tip that lead to him being caught after 24 years came after The Hunt with John Walsh aired his case in July. It detailed how in 1990 he and his half-brother, Vance Roberts, were arrested on rape and kidnapping charges. They would reportedly kidnap women off the street and hold them prisoner for several days, raping and torturing them. One victim, Andrea Hood, managed to escape after two days. She convinced them to leave one hand free from the handcuffs that held her to the bed and then freed the other, grabbed a nearby gun, broke the window, and escaped to a neighbor’s home, bleeding from her window escape and her abductors trailing her with every step. She lead police to their home, which she identified by the broken window she had escaped from. Photographs of victims naked and bound were found, along with a soundproofed room project in one bedroom, chains, and restraints. One was identified as Michaelle Dierich, who had been caught and tortured in 1988 for a week before being released. She had been blindfolded and kept in a closet. She reported the assault to authorities after being released, still blindfolded, but since she could not provide descriptions of her captors the case went nowhere. The identities of the other women in the photographs remains unknown. Both were arrested and bailed out by their mother in 1991, then vanished.

Vance Roberts was caught after turning himself in in 2005. He did not reveal Jackson’s whereabouts. He was convicted of all charges in June 2007 and after a 4 day trial was sentenced to 108 years in jail. He maintained that the photographs were taken consentually, but said little else about his crime.

Hood and Dierich waived their right to anonymity last year in hopes that their stories would lead to Jackson being caught. But he would continue being on the run for a full 24 years before capture.

U.S. Marshals Deputy Eric Wahlstrom said that The Hunt played a key role in Jackson’s capture.

“It was a specific tip that came in right after (the episode) aired that led authorities to him in Guadalajara.”

Authorities were especially pleased by his being caught after 24 years because most crimes of that nature are serial; offenders do not stop until they are stopped. Andrea Hood had expressed similar sentiments, and reported being pleased by his capture.

“I think there will be some definite healing that’s able to happen now.”

While being captured after 24 years is very unusual, there have been several cases where fugitives were caught after a long period of time on the run. Frank Freshwaters was caught in May after 56 years on the run. He had been sentenced to one to twenty years in prison after he killed a pedestrian with his car. In September 1959, six months into his sentence, he escaped from jail. In 1975 he was apprehended in West Virginia, but when the governor wouldn’t extradite him he fled again.

Jackson will have to stand before the courts in Mexico before he is returned to Oregon. The hearing in Mexico has yet to be scheduled. But after being caught after 24 years on the run, it’s not likely he’s going anywhere.

[Images via The Hunt with John Walsh]