In December 2006, a patient at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital in Louisiana raised red flags for social worker Mark Monteilh. "We weren't trying to capture a criminal. We were trying to identify a patient," Mark says. The 67-year-old mystery man had suffered a severe stroke and could not speak, and his identification belonged to a deceased person from California. Mark, who worked in law enforcement for nine years, suspected the frail man was living a lie. "One of my first statements was, 'He's running from someone. He's running from something.'"
Mark asked Dr. Tim Miller to help him question the man. "I asked him if he was from California and he shook his head no. I went to the neighboring states and finally went to Nevada, and he finally shook his head yes," Dr. Miller says. After further questioning, Dr. Miller determined he was from Reno and his name was Gary.
After Dr. Miller conducted a quick Google search with the terms "Gary," "Reno," "Nevada" and "Fugitive," he stumbled across the unthinkable. "The first thing that popped up was a profile of a Mr. Gary Lee St. John who was wanted in Nevada," Dr. Miller says.
Together, the men confronted their patient. "Dr. Miller quickly asked him if his name was Gary Lee St. John and … he nodded yes. [St. John] started crying profoundly, weeping," Mark says. "We looked at each other in amazement and said we can't believe that we just caught one of the biggest fugitives in America."
In the decade that the FBI was on St. John's trail, no one suspected he was hiding in plain sight in the tiny town of Kinder, Louisiana. Residents say he was quiet, secluded and "a little different."
Living in a trailer, St. John became well-known for the colorful windmills and kites he sold along the roadside. Residents now wonder if he sold the toys to attract children. "People knew of him because of the business that he had, because of the time he spent at the casino," says FBI Special Agent Hall Jones. "He was well-known, or so they thought."
According to his landlord, St. John had a steady girlfriend who had children—and grandchildren.
St. John has been extradited back to Nevada, where he is awaiting trial. He is being held without bail and could face up to two life sentences.
Neither Mark nor Dr. Miller was aware of Oprah's promise to award $100,000 to anyone providing information which leads to the capture or arrest of one of the fugitives on Oprah's Child Predator Watch List. Oprah presents both Mark and Dr. Miller with $50,000 checks.
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