Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Top Ten Fugitive Destinations


Long held as the number one destination for child molesters on the run, Thailand has stepped up its law enforcement in recent years to pick up pursued pedophiles, such as Christopher Paul Neil, whose swirled photograph made the front page during an Interpol investigation of the sexual abuse of at least 12 boys in Southeast Asia. Neil, who was teaching English in South Korea, booked a one-way ticket to Thailand once Interpol, armed with over 200 photographs allegedly depicting Neil abusing the boys, began a worldwide manhunt called Operation Vico. Neil, who studied to become a priest in his native Canada, was captured by Thai police in October, 2007, and is currently serving a 39-month sentence in Thailand.

Christopher Paul Neil's identity revealed by Interpol specialists
Christopher Paul Neil's identity revealed by Interpol specialists

Another man caught in Thailand was Darren Ray Castleberry, 41, who was wanted in Texas on six charges of aggravated sexual assault against a child for raping four young girls, two them his own daughters. Castleberry was apprehended in a Bangkok shop in January 2009, and brought back to Texas a month later, where he was held without bond awaiting trial.

Darren Ray Castleberry
Darren Ray Castleberry

PROS: Easily obtained forged IDs and cheap plastic surgery, combined with fairly lax law enforcement practices make it easy to assume a false identity.

CONS: The list of fugitives caught and deported by Thai police is getting longer by the day. In addition to those already mentioned, there's 21-year-old Morgan Michelle Hoke, dubbed "The Ponytail Bandit", who was arrested in Thailand where she fled after robbing three American banks.

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