Anchorage police arrest fugitive sought for more than a decade

Posted: Tuesday, October 24, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Anchorage police raided a secluded vagrant's camp in the city's midtown area over the weekend and arrested a fugitive who had been sought for more than a decade, officers say.

David Hodel, 44, wanted in Minnesota on charges of manslaughter and escape dating back to the 1970s, was taken into custody after being found fast asleep early Saturday.

He was inside a camouflaged tent in a brushy area south of the Z.J. Loussac Library, police officer Sean Romprey said.

''He was sleeping in a tent that we barely found,'' Romprey told the Anchorage Daily News.

Hodel was charged with being a fugitive from justice and is being held at the Cook Inlet Pre-Trial Facility.

Hodel was convicted of manslaughter in 1976 in the shooting death of a relative in Pennsylvania, police said.

He was paroled three years later to Minnesota where he violated conditions of his release, police said.

Hodel was jailed again, but managed to escape.

Police believe Hodel has been in Alaska since 1989 and has used several different aliases.

He was arrested in a domestic violence case at Kenai in 1998, Romprey said. He also was arrested in Anchorage, charged with driving while intoxicated, the officer said.

It was not immediately clear why law enforcement officials in St. Cloud, Minn., decided recently to issue extradition warrants for Hodel, Romprey said.

Anchorage police sent notices Thursday to local media that Hodel was wanted and included a photograph of him.

The arrest came after police received a telephone tip. The caller said Hodel frequented a midtown gas station and hung out at a cafe on Spenard Road. The caller told police where Hodel lived.

About 2 a.m. Saturday, Romprey and another officer located a different man camped in the brush. After hearing officers describe who they were looking for, the man led them across a dirt road to another brushy area where they found a camp with trees and branches woven through wire mesh, Romprey said.

''He had a tarp hanging over what looked like bales of hay and pieces of hay and straw. Six inches down in the hay was a two-man tent.''

The man in the tent at first denied he was Hodel, then admitted it, Romprey said.

''He said he didn't murder anyone, it was an accident, it was 21 years ago,'' Romprey said.

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