Hector Gutierrez And Gary Gerhardt, Rocky Mountain News
Copyright 2006 Denver Publishing Company
A convicted robber who had been a Colorado fugitive for more than 34 years was captured this week in Florida after authorities received a tip from the Marine Corps, state authorities said Wednesday.
Gary L. McFall was 28 when he escaped from the Colorado State Hospital. When he was captured by police Tuesday in Port Richey, Fla., McFall was 62, and the oldest escape case in the Colorado Department of Corrections, Katherine Sanguinetti, the agency spokeswoman, said.
McFall was living with a woman at a home in Port Richey, Sanguinetti said. He had been making a living running businesses mostly in Florida under the alias of Robert Gary DaVault. She did not know the nature of his businesses.
"But they apparently were legitimate because they stayed clean," Sanguinetti said.
While he was on the lam, McFall had managed to get married and have two children. His wife died in 1999, the spokeswoman said.
State corrections officers learned of McFall's whereabouts after they received a tip from the Marine Corps Criminal Investigations Division, Sanguinetti said. Corrections officers then worked with the Port Richey Police Department to track and nab McFall.
Corrections authorities acknowledged Wednesday that McFall previously had been apprehended in Yuma, Ariz., by the Marines at the Marine Corps Air Station in 2004. However, McFall was not extradited to Colorado because the state did not have a warrant for his extradition out of Arizona. Since then McFall's warrant for escape was amended to permit his extradition nationwide.
First Lt. Kevin Schultz, who is based out of Yuma's Marine Corps Air Station, said the Marines at the base had received threatening letters from McFall after he was taken into custody by the military in Arizona.
Corrections investigators, acting on the Marines' tip, were able to verify McFall's driver's licenses and tracked him to Port Richey, Sanguinetti said.
The Marines knew of McFall two years ago when he attempted to enter the air station and presented documentation that indicated he was a disabled veteran, Schultz said.
A Marine conducting a background check learned McFall was wanted for an escape warrant in Colorado. Because McFall was a civilian the Marines turned him over to the Yuma Police Department.
Yuma police Sgt. Brian Scanlan said that if Colorado did not have an extraditable warrant for McFall it was likely the police simply kicked him loose.
"As long as Colorado says, 'We're not going to pick him up,' we won't extradite him," Scanlan said.
McFall was sentenced to six to 14 years in prison in 1970 for a robbery conviction out of Denver. He spent about 1 1/2 years in prison before he was transferred to the Colorado State Hospital for observation.
McFall escaped from the hospital Nov. 2, 1971.
May 4, 2006
Colo. fugitive on lam since '71 found in Fla.