OCEAN CITY – One of the most wanted men in America, a fugitive murderer and three-time escapee believed spotted in Ocean City in the summer of 2006, was finally caught last week in New Brunswick, Canada after nearly 20 years of dodging and taunting law enforcement from one end of the country to another.
Richard Lee McNair, a high-profile killer listed as one of the most wanted in the country, was captured last Thursday by Royal Canadian Mountie Stephane Gagnon, who had been out of training academy for just six weeks. The rookie stopped McNair in New Brunswick for a routine traffic stop, and when the suspect fled on foot, Gagnon tackled him and took him into custody, not knowing at the time the significance of his arrest.
In April 2006, McNair, who was serving three life sentences for murder and burglary, escaped from a Louisiana prison for the fifth time in his illustrious criminal career. Federal marshals tracked McNair as he crisscrossed the country. During the pursuit, McNair would often leave behind a calling card, some piece of evidence of his presence in an area, as a means to taunt his pursuers.
In August 2006, McNair was reportedly spotted in Ocean City. Several witnesses reported seeing McNair in different places around the resort after seeing a portrayal of him on “America’s Most Wanted.” One witness told police she was sure she spotted McNair around 120th Street.
For several days, federal marshals combed the resort for McNair and distributed his picture and information to merchants and shop owners throughout Ocean City. Of course, he was never found and it remains uncertain if he was ever even in Ocean City, but for a few days in August 2006, McNair was highly sought criminal in the resort area.
In the April 2006 escape from a Louisiana prison, McNair concealed himself in a pile of mail bags that had been shrink-wrapped for shipping. Once outside the prison, he escaped the shrink-wrapped mailbags and went on the lam again. On the day of his escape, McNair was questioned by a Louisiana officer as he ran near railroad tracks. McNair explained he was just jogging and told the officer he would be on the lookout for the escaped killer before leaving the officer with a hardy handshake.
Before his most recent escape in 2006, McNair had escaped federal prisons four other times including twice since being convicted and sentenced to life in prison for shooting a man in Minnesota in 1987.