The Very First Top Ten FBI Most Wanted List – 1950

List of Top Ten Most Wanted FBI Fugitives - 1950In 1949 the FBI came up with a list of the hardest criminals to catch and due to great public support this led to the creation of the first ‘Ten Most Wanted Fugitives’ list on March 14 1950. The saying goes that “the FBI always get their man”. This list looks at the very first group� – the Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives of 1950 – and what happened to them.


There are two primary criteria used to determine who should be placed on the list. First, the fugitive must be considered a particularly dangerous menace to society and/or have a lengthy record of committing serious crimes. Second, the FBI must believe nationwide publicity will assist in apprehending the fugitive. Unless a �Top Tenner� is captured, found dead, or surrenders, �Top Tenners� are only removed from the list when they meet one of two conditions. First, the process against them is dismissed by a court of law. Second, they no longer fit �Top Ten� criteria. When a fugitive is eliminated from the list, another is added to take his or her place.

10. Morris Guralnick

  • March 24, 1950 #10
  • Nine months on the list

Mr Guralnick was charged July 22, 1948 with unlawful flight from New York after he assaulted guards and escaped July 11, 1948 from Ulster County Jail at Kingston, New York. He had stabbed his former girlfriend in April 1948, and bit off the finger of an arresting officer. He was arrested December 15, 1950 at a Madison, Wisconsin clothing store, which removed hi name from the list.

9. Henry Harland Shelton

List of Top Ten Most Wanted FBI Fugitives 1950 - Henry Harland Shelton

  • March 23, 1950 #9
  • Three months on the list

Henry Harland Shelton is serving a sentence of forty-five years for kidnapping and five years concurrently for car theft. He pled guilty to charges against him on August 21, 1950 after he was wounded during a gunfight with FBI Special Agents while being arrested June 23, 1950. He was indicted October 14, 1949 for kidnapping and car theft in Amasa, Michigan, where the chase and subsequent capture extended over several days and across state lines from Michigan, to Illinois and into Wisconsin, then back to Illinois and Indiana. He had escaped September 5, 1949 from the Michigan House of Correction and Branch Prison before being being recaptured.

8. Glen Roy Wright

List of Top Ten Most Wanted FBI Fugitives 1950 - Glen Roy Wright

  • March 22, 1950 #8
  • Nine months on the list

Glen Roy Wright died in prison on May 7, 1954. He was arrested December 13, 1950 at Salina, Kansas after being charged with unlawful flight February 8, 1949. He escaped from prison September 14, 1948 where he was serving a life sentence (convicted in 1934) at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary at McAlester, Oklahoma for armed robbery. He was wounded in a gun battle with police officers in Arkansas, then was shot during gunbattle with police during his apprehension in Kansas. Mr Wright was a former associate of the Karpis-Barker Gang of the 1930s.

7. Orba Elmer Jackson

List of Top Ten Most Wanted FBI Fugitives 1950 - Orba Elmer Jackson

  • March 21, 1950 #7
  • Two days on the list

Orba Elmer Jackson was indicted by the Federal Grand Jury at Kansas City, Missouri on March 18, 1949 charged with unlawful escape. He had been transferred to an honor farm September 3, 1947, but disappeared three weeks later. He had previously been convicted of robbery and assault in 1936 and sent to Leavenworth prison, where he served a sentence in 1928 for car theft and grand larceny. He was was arrested March 23, 1950 at a poultry farm outside Portland, Oregon and returned to Leavenworth on September 19, 1950.

6. Lee Emory Downs

List of Top Ten Most Wanted FBI Fugitives 1950 - Lee Emory Downs

  • March 20, 1950 #6
  • One month on the list

Lee Emory Downs was an expert safecracker and skilled holdup man in three Pacific Coast states. He robbed a telephone company office in San Jose, California, June 3, 1948 to which he was charged and improsoned. he was then was arrested April 7, 1950 with weapons, dynamite and fuses at a Daytona Beach, Florida trailer park, jailed once again, and returned to prison for attempted burglary of the Colombian consulate in San Francisco, after his parole in 1968.

5. Omar August Pinson

List of Top Ten Most Wanted FBI Fugitives 1950 - Omar August Pinson

  • March 18, 1950 #5
  • Five months on the list

Omar August Pinsonwas arrested in 1936 and sentenced to 18 months in the Eldora, Iowa State Reformatory on a charge of armed robbery. He was released and then again sentenced in 1941 to the Missouri State Penitentiary for automobile tampering. After being released, he made his way to the west coast and was sentenced in 1944 to the Washington State Prison, Walla Walla, Washington for burglary, but released one year later. Staying on the coast, he shot and fatally wounded Oregon State Police Officer Delmond Rondeauin April 15, 1947, in Hood River, Oregon after a burglary, and was captured within 24 hours by the Oregon State Police and local officers at Ordnance, Oregon. On May 24, 1947 this career criminal was sentenced to life imprisonment at Oregon State Penitentiary for first degree murder. To add more drama to his story, two years later (May 1949) Omar escaped from the Oregon State Prison with a cellmate and was wanted in eastern Washington and Idaho for burglary under the alias Joseph Anthony Dorian. He evaded capture after a shootout with police January 30, 1950, at Polson, Montana while burglarizing a hardware store under the alias of Sam Cignitti, but was later was arrested August 28, 1950 at Pierre, South Dakota by South Dakota Highway Patrol and an FBI National Academy graduate. He was charged to serve his sentence at Oregon State Penitentiary September 5, 1950.

4. Henry Randolph Mitchell

List of Top Ten Most Wanted FBI Fugitives 1950 - Henry Randolph Mitchell

  • March 17, 1950 #4
  • Eight years on the list

Henry Randolph Mitchell- PROCESS DISMISSED July 18, 1958 after the Federal District Court at Jacksonville dropped the bank robbery charge because too much time passed. He had robbed a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation bank in Williston, Florida January 21, 1948.

3. William Raymond Nesbit

List of Top Ten Most Wanted FBI Fugitives 1950 - William Raymond Nesbit

  • March 16, 1950 #3
  • Three days on the list, after missing for four years

William Nesbit – U.S. prisoner at South Dakota State Penitentiary, was arrested March 18, 1950 in St. Paul, Minnesota by local police following the INS story in the St. Paul Dispatch after being recognized by some boys as “Ray,” a man who lived in a cave near the river. he had been charged with unlawful flight on December 26, 1946 after disappearing from prison as a trustee September 4, 1946 while serving a life sentence, which was commuted to 20 years on February 18, 1946. Had been apprehended at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on February 26, 1937 for murder, having blown up an accomplice in a massive black powder explosion, and trying to kill another accomplice, after beating her in the head with a hammer during a fight in Minnehaha County while stealing dynamite to make nitroglycerin on December 31, 1936, following the December 22, 1936 burglary of jewelry company at Sioux City, Iowa.

2. Morley Vernon King

List of Top Ten Most Wanted FBI Fugitives 1950 - Morley Vernon King

  • March 15, 1950 #2
  • Two years on the list

Morley Vernon King was apprehended October 31, 1951 in a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania restaurant, while shucking oysters. He was charged July 12, 1947 with the murder of his wife Helen, found strangled in a steamer trunk July 9, 1947 under the back porch of a San Luis Obispo, California hotel.

1. Thomas James Holden

List of Top Ten Most Wanted FBI Fugitives 1950 - Thomas James Holden

  • March 14, 1950 #1
  • One year on the list.

Thomas James Holden was arrested June 23, 1951 in Beaverton, Oregon following a tip from a citizen who read the INS story in the Portland, Oregon newspaper The Oregonian and contacted the FBI. He had fled Illinois, and was charged with unlawful flight across state lines November 4, 1949. He shot to death his wife and her two brothers while drinking June 5, 1949 in Chicago. He was alleged to be one of the “outside” crew in a sensational armed break of other prisoners from Leavenworth in December, 1931. He was caught with a fellow escapee by Special Agents and local police officers on a golf course at Kansas City, Missouri July 7, 1932; He previously had escaped from Leavenworth in 1930, where he was serving a sentence for robbing a mail train in the late 1920s.

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