The FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list began on March 14, 1950, after a reporter asked FBI officials for the names and descriptions of the “toughest guys” the Bureau wanted to apprehend. According to the FBI website, “the resulting story generated so much publicity and had so much appeal that late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover implemented the ‘Ten Most Wanted Fugitives’ program, that still exists today.”
Since its inception 66 years ago, 509 people have been on the Ten Most Wanted list, and 476 of those have either been caught or located. In the more than six decades it has been around, only ten women have ever made it to the FBI’s Most Wanted list, including recent addition Shanika Minor. Who are these women, and what prompted their addition to the FBI’s Top Ten list?
Ruth Eismann-Schier — Eismann-Schier was the very first woman ever added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. She was added in 1968 for the kidnapping of Barbara Mackle, the daughter of a wealthy real estate mogul. Eismann-Schier and Gary Stephen Krist, her boyfriend at the time, kidnapped Mackle, buried her alive in a coffin equipped with ventilation tubes, a fan, and food, and asked her father for a ransom to return his daughter alive. Mackle survived, and Ruth was caught in March of 1969. She spent four years in jail for the crime.
Marie Dean Arrington — Arrington was arrested in 1969 for the murder of a legal secretary who worked for the public offender that unsuccessfully represented Arrignton’s two children on felony charges. Arrington escaped from prison that same year, and was subsequently placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted. She was caught in 1971, and her death sentence was commuted to life in prison. She died in 2014, still incarcerated.
Angela Yvonne Davis — According to USA Today, Davis was a formerly philosophy professor, who was added to the Most Wanted list in 1970 when guns she had purchased were used in an armed kidnapping, escape attempt, and hostage situation. One of the guns she had purchased was used to kill a court judge. Davis was eventually acquitted of all charges.
Bernardine Rae Dohrn — Dohrn became the fourth woman on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in 1970 for being the leader of Weather Underground, a radical left-wing organization responsible for bombing the United States Capitol, the Pentagon, and several New York police stations. Dohrn remained on the Most Wanted list for three years before the federal indictments against her were dropped due to “governmental misconduct.”
Katherine Ann Power and Susan Edith Saxe — Power and Saxe were college roommates at Brandeis University when the two, along with several ex-convicts, took part in a bank robbery, during which a Boston Police Department officer was shot and killed. Their involvement in the robbery caused them to be put on the Most Wanted list in 1970. Saxe was captured in 1975, and spent seven years in prison. Power turned herself in in 1993, and spent six years behind bars.
Donna Jean Willmott — Willmott and her partner, Claude Daniel Marks, were placed on the list in 1987, after they plotted to blow up the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas, in the hopes of springing a Puerto Rican FALN (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional) leader. However, they purchased fake explosives from an FBI informant, reports CBS News. They fled, and were captured seven years later, in 1944.
Shauntay L. Henderson — Henderson spent on 24 hours on the FBI’s Most Wanted list in 2007, before she was apprehended and convicted of shooting and killing a man. She is currently serving 17 years in federal prison. Henderson is believed to have been behind at least five other murders, and was, at one time, thought to be the leader of Kansas City’s infamous 12 Street Gang.
Brenda Delgado — Delgado was added to the Most Wanted list in April of this year after allegedly hiring a hitman to kill the girlfriend of her ex-boyfriend. Kendra Hatcher, a Dallas paediatric dentist, was shot in the parking garage of her apartment building. Delgado fled to Mexico, where she was arrested two days after making the FBI’s list.
Shanika S. Minor — The most recent woman to land on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, Shanika Minor was added on June 28, 2016, for shooting her mother’s neighbour, Tamecca Perry, on March 6, 2016. Perry was nine months pregnant at the time, and neither she, nor the baby, survived the attack. According to the New York Daily News, Minor shot Perry in front of Perry’s two young children because Perry was allegedly playing music too loud. Minor fled the scene, and hasn’t been seen since. She is considered armed and dangerous.
Of the ten women who have been placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list since Ruth Eismann-Schier in 1968, only Shanika Minor remains at large, though if the stories of the other women are any indication, she likely won’t be for long. A $100,000 reward is being offered by the FBI for any information that leads to the capture of the latest female fugitive to make her way onto the Most Wanted list.
[Photo by AP Photo/Richard Vogel]