Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Daring Escape of the
Texas 7


As the search for the Texas 7 continued, America's Most Wanted ran another segment on the elusive fugitives on Saturday, January 20, the third such airing about the case on that program. The program basically reiterated what was known about the seven escapees, and provided information about the $500,000 reward in the hope that it would bring forward someone who had seen the convicts or knew where they were hiding.

Police sketch of Texas 7 escaped convicts (AP)
Police sketch of Texas 7 escaped convicts

At one point the magnitude of the Texas 7 case was compared to that of the so-called "Railroad Murderer," Angel Maturino Resendez. In that case it turned out that the suspect's family proved instrumental in bringing it to a successful conclusion, and the investigators hunting for the Texas 7 hoped for something similar in their case.

Although the investigators didn't know it yet, they were about to get what they were hoping for, except it would not be a relative of any of the Texas 7 who helped them. Wayne Holder, owner of the Coachlight RV Park in Woodland Park, Colorado, located a few miles northwest of Colorado Springs near the U.S. Air Force Academy, had watched America's Most Wanted on Saturday night and thought that he recognized some of the fugitives. A group of seven men had checked into the park on Monday, January 1, driving a 32-foot Pace Arrow RV and other vehicles. They had told him that they were a group of traveling Christians doing missionary work, and had seemed like such a nice, pleasant group of men. One of them had even joined a small Bible study group at the park within days of their arrival. But Holder became suspicious after seeing the latest installment of America's Most Wanted, and his suspicions had bothered him all night long. He wanted to make the call to the police, but he also wanted to be certain that his suspicions were correct. To be sure that he wasn't making a mistake, he fired up his computer the next day and checked out the mug shots of the Texas 7 on AMW's website. After viewing the photos for a while, there was no longer any doubt in his mind. The Texas 7 were indeed staying at his park. Astounded by what he had discovered, he didn't know what to do. If things weren't handled properly and carefully, it could get dangerous real fast, not only for him but also for others staying in the park. But he knew that he had to do the right thing.

Shortly after 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 21, Holder called 911 and reported his suspicions to Teller County Sheriff's Department Deputy Nicholas Pinell, and from there the case broke wide open.

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