Walter Edward Myer

Viewers, you did it again! At the start of Oprah's 20th season, we launched Oprah's Child Predator Watch List, challenging viewers to catch some of America's most wanted fugitives—men charged with heinous sex crimes against children. Within just 40 hours, viewers helped the FBI capture two of them…and now we've caught another!

International authorities apprehended Walter Edward Myer in a remote part of Costa Rica, nearly 1,500 miles from the scene of his alleged crimes. On the lam for more than 10 years, authorities say he went by several aliases, including Eddie Morris. After his capture, the FBI escorted Myer back to the United States. Today he is in the county jail in Tallapoosa, Alabama, where he faces a shocking array of accusations.

For years Myer was a trusted staff member at a boys' military school in Alabama. As the outdoor activities director, he often spent time alone with the students on camping trips and weekend getaways at his lake house. Police say it was on these trips that Myer preyed on some of the boys who were entrusted to his care. After three students came forward in 1996, Myer was indicted on more than 100 counts of sex crimes against children. Two months before he was scheduled to appear in court, Myer disappeared.

Chas was just 8 years old when he witnessed his beloved father and brother hit and killed by a train. "He was my Superman," says Chas of his father. For years after the tragic accident, his mother Gloria tried to fill the void, but realized she needed help. She decided to send Chas to an all-boys military boarding school with the hope that he would find a good male role model. Instead, he found Walter Edward Myer.

From first meeting "Captain Myer," Chas says, he looked up to him. "He was there for you if you had a problem. If you got beat up in school, you'd go to him and he'd take care of it." Soon, Chas along with a small group of students started making regular visits to Myer's lake house. "He had jet skis and a boat," Chas says. It was a paradise for young boys—and a place with no rules. "He had cognac and cigars there and vodka," Chas remembers. "We thought that was cool."

Then one night, things at the lake house took a dark turn. "I went up and went to sleep and he came in and hugged me and kissed me on the side of the head," Chas remembers. Then Myer's touch became explicitly sexual, Chas says: "He was going down on me, putting his mouth on my private parts," he says. "He kind of was touching me all over. I was completely terrified."

Ray was an impressionable sixth grader when "Captain Myer" befriended him. "When I first met him, it was almost like he was a big teddy bear. Just a great, good-hearted man," Ray remembers.

Ray says it took about a year for Myer's seduction to turn physical. "It really started out as just an innocent massage, a little bit by little bit," Ray says. "Then little bit by little bit there would be a little bit more touching a little bit more rubbing. Eventually, it turned into where he was actually masturbating me. It was an every night thing." Ray says he was molested for three years, and with each year, Myer became more and more aggressive.

Ray remembers the most terrifying attack occurred on a camping trip. "We went and laid down in the tent that night. He, of course, gave us a massage. One of the things he did after I had ejaculated—he, like, licked it off his hands and rubbed it on my chest. … I still have nightmares about it to this day."
Ray, Chas and Oprah

Ray and Chas were not close at boarding school, but they did cross paths, once, at Myer's lake house. Both remember other cadets suspected Myer of molesting students. The two boys refused to believe the rumors until they were confronted first-hand with the horrible truth. "He didn’t seem like that type of person," Chas says.

Both Chas and Ray believe their vulnerability made them ideal targets for Myer. "I think that Walt Myer saw my innocence and how vulnerable I was," Ray says, "and that I wasn't used to being away from home and that I didn't like being there."

Chas, who had lost his father and brother only four years earlier, felt like an outcast at the school and trusted and confided in Myer. He says he had no one to turn to about the abuse because Myer was his only friend. "There was no one to tell [about the abuse]," Chas says. "For me, [Myer] was the only person I really trusted at the school." Chas and Ray, already considered outsiders by their classmates, feared complete isolation if the abuse was discovered.

Ray says he still feels anger toward Myer. "I hate that man so bad," he says. "My whole life I've always looked for him everywhere I went, hoping I'll see him one more time."

Joshua was watching The Oprah Show when a familiar face on the screen caught his eye. He recognized Walter Edward Myer as "Eddie," the kind but strange man he had known during the two years he lived in Costa Rica—they rode the bus together and taught English at the same university. Joshua remembers that Eddie was popular with his students and invited many of them to his house for holiday events.

Joshua says that, like Chas and Ray, he considered Myer "a really nice guy." One of the only clues that something was "off" with his colleague was the fact that the otherwise talkative Myer changed the subject whenever Joshua asked him about his family.

"Luckily," Joshua says, "I had [The Oprah Winfrey Show] digitally recorded and so I was able to rewind it … eight times." Legally blind, Joshua emailed Myer's photo to friends who had taught with him in Costa Rica in an attempt to confirm the accused predator's identity. They agreed Myer was the fugitive, so Joshua called the FBI.
Oprah presents a third $100,000 reward

"Now I get to keep my promise!" Oprah says to Joshua. "I know millions of viewers watching right now are so grateful to you. The truth of the matter is, we never know when you capture someone, or when anybody reports anybody who is a known molester, chances are that was not the first child, and certainly would never be the last child. So we don't know how many children you saved."

On behalf of all Oprah viewers, Oprah thanks Joshua and presents him with a check for $100,000.

To Chas and Ray, Oprah says, "I do the rewards to try to get attention, to get more people to be aware about it. I know that repaying [Joshua] for taking [Myer] off the street in no way begins to compensate for what has happened to the two of you. I just want to say I am sorry that that happened to you. Perhaps maybe by what you had to say today, you'll save another boy or girl. Thank you both."
FROM: Oprah's Latest Capture: From Boys' School Director to Most Wanted Pedophile
Published on January 01, 2006


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