Stories posted are written by National news Journalists, not by this blog
Our Blog Tips

Elyria ‘America’s Most Wanted’ tip a false alarm (Public whipped to a frenzy)

4-19-2007 Ohio:

ELYRIA — Well, let’s just say that host John Walsh from the show “America’s Most Wanted’’ won’t be landing in Elyria anytime soon to tout the capture of a fugitive from his most wanted list.

Elyria police and school officials said Wednesday that reports of a fugitive being spotted in Elyria this week turned out to be false.

A man who just happened to look like Daniel William Hiers Jr., a fugitive recently featured on the television show, was the victim of mistaken identity, police say.

The announcement came two days after Elyria police and U.S. Marshals started scouring the area looking for a man whom an Elyria resident swore was Hiers.

The fracas started last week when a resident saw Hiers’ mugshot on TV, and then swore that Hiers chose their yard as a place to loiter just a day earlier.

That person told a relative employed by the Elyria Schools, and the school employee just happened to see the same man in the area of Eastern Heights and Sherman Avenue, police said.

The school employee also called the police, so Elyria police — while acknowledging that Hiers had no known connection to Elyria — set up shop near Eastern Heights and searched for the alleged fugitive to no avail.

Elyria Schools also got involved, sending a letter to parents about the alleged fugitive just to be on the safe side, Elyria Schools Superintendent Paul Rigda said.
“We had to look at look at as, ‘Is it possible he’s out there?’” Rigda said. “Based on whether it was possible, we had to act on the side of safety.”

The aim of the letter was to inform parents of the potential situation, but it mistakenly said that police were “tracking” the fugitive, when in fact they were only “investigating” the incident, police and school officials said.

Either way, the letter triggered parents to inundate Elyria police with phone calls about the incident.

As it turned out, the whole incident was put to rest Wednesday when the look-alike was spotted and questioned. That came after police and the U.S. Marshals spent the past two days questioning several people whom they found that bore the remotest resemblance to Hiers.

And the look-alike? He wasn’t charged with a crime, for he did nothing wrong, Eichenlaub said. ..more.. by Shawn Foucher

No comments: