The Longest, The Shortest, And The Most Intense Manhunts We Learned About In 2021

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Vote up the most fascinating manhunt stories.

Throughout history, countless fugitives have attempted to evade the law by going on the run. Some manhunts are over in a matter of hours, while others last years, even decades. A select few crooks managed to get away completely and never did the time for their crimes. Other manhunts were notable for the intensity of the effort to bring the notorious fugitives to justice.

This collection combines the best of the long, short, and intense manhunts we learned about in 2021.

  • 1
    541 VOTES

    George Mulholland Was Technically A Fugitive For 58 Years

    It's not a killer or a hardened gangster who holds the record for the longest prison escape, but an Australian man who stole a police baton during a riot in Victoria. As he tells it, the act was to simply stop a police officer from striking an elderly protestor. George Mulholland, then 23, picked the lock of his cell and vaulted over the prison walls in 1928. He escaped to Sydney and eventually settled in Newcastle. 

    It's fair to say authorities weren't exactly breaking out the roadblocks to apprehend Mulholland, given the relatively minor nature of his offense. Long after the police had given up hope of finding him, an 80-year-old man arrived at the old Melbourne City Watch House (pictured) to give himself up. He was pardoned and given his old mugshots as a memento.

  • Adolf Eichmann was one of the men directly responsible for the demise of more than 6 million people during the Holocaust, something of which he was immensely proud. He worked out the logistics of the genocide following the Wannsee Conference and enjoyed success within the Nazi Party. He escaped justice at the Nuremberg trials and was funneled out of Europe and into Argentina by Nazi sympathizers in the Catholic Church.

    By 1950, Eichmann was going by Ricardo Klement and living a quiet life in South America. After learning about his location and the fact that he was just hanging out in town, members of the Mossad (an intelligence agency in Israel) traveled to Buenos Aires. They picked him up when he got off the bus before dragging him to a safe house and then flying him to Israel.

    Eichmann's capture had to be kept quiet because the operation's legality was debatable, but he was put on trial anyway and sentenced to hang on May 31, 1962.

  • Assata Shakur Has A Price On Her Head That Will Never Be Redeemed
    Photo: US Government / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Assata Shakur, born JoAnne Deborah Byron, was convicted of slaying a New Jersey state trooper in 1973. A friend of the political activist Afeni Shakur and the godmother of Afeni's child - the 1990s rapper Tupac Shakur - she received a life sentence for her part in the New Jersey shoot-out that claimed the trooper's life. 

    Initially held in solitary confinement on Rikers Island, NY, Shakur was transferred to a facility in New Jersey where she was the only female inmate. Members of the Black Liberation Army sprung her from prison by in November 1979, and despite an intensive manhunt by the FBI, she was never found.

    By 1984 Shakur made her way to Cuba, where she has lived ever since. She's still wanted by the FBI to this very day, with a $2 million bounty for her capture.

  • Bernardo Provenzano Was On The Run For 43 Years
    Photo: Italian State Police / Wikipedia / Fair Use

    Bernardo Provenzano was an infamous figure in the Sicilian Mafia who managed to elude authorities for more than four decades. He oversaw a faction in the town of Corleone, most famous for inspiring the fictional protagonist of The Godfather

    Although Provenzano shared many qualities with the fictional crime lord, his nickname was a good deal more chilling than Mario Puzo's character. "The Tractor" was so called because he mowed down anyone who got in his way. He was highly secretive, and only a 1959 mugshot existed for authorities to track him down for homicide in 1963. 

    Finally, in 2006, police found an elderly man living in a dilapidated farmhouse in Sicily; Provenzano was 73 when he was apprehended. It was a delivery of clean laundry to his hideout that ultimately led to his capture. He passed after 10 years in custody in 2016. (The mugshots show an artist's age-progressed rendition of what Provenzano was suspected to look like versus what he actually looked like).

  • Béla Kiss Was A Hungarian 'Vampire' Who Disappeared Without A Trace
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Béla Kiss was a Hungarian businessman who took the lives of 24 people between 1900 and 1914. His first victims were his young wife and the man she was having an affair with. Kiss lured a succession of lonely women to his home, where he would strangle them and store their bodies in large steel drums in his garden. He also drained blood from the necks of his victims. 

    When World War I broke out in 1914, Kiss was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian army; he left his home and gruesome collection in the care of his housekeeper. Two years later, Kiss's horrified landlord discovered the remains of 23 women and one man on the property. Authorities launched an urgent search for the killer, but the chaos of the war and the fact "Béla Kiss" was a common name made it extremely difficult.

    At one point Kiss used a dead body in an army hospital in Serbia to cover his tracks and escape. Although several sightings were reported, including in New York City in 1932, he was never caught. 

  • 6
    229 VOTES

    The Unabomber Evaded Capture For 17 Years

    The Unabomber was at large for 17 years and subject to one of the largest manhunts in American history. Ted Kaczynski was a reclusive former mathematics professor who built increasingly sophisticated incendiary devices with simple household items scrubbed clean of forensic evidence. The task force formed to track him down made little headway until a big break in the case came in 1995 - from Kaczynski himself.

    The Unabomber sent a 35,000-word manifesto to The New York Times and other major newspapers. After authorities made the controversial decision to allow the piece to be published, members of Kaczynski's estranged family recognized the language and came forward. In 1996, he was apprehended in a remote cabin in Montana. He received eight consecutive life sentences in 1998.