The television show “America’s Most Wanted” hopes tips from truckers will lead to the capture of three dangerous criminals.
Two women wanted for murder and one male escapee from jail may be hitching rides with unsuspecting truckers. Since truckers cover great distances in short times, the fugitives are keeping authorities at bay, but they are also putting truckers in danger.
Hazel Head has eluded authorities since 1998. She is wanted for the first-degree murder of retired trucker Charles Barker, 69, of Benton, La. She allegedly shot him in the back of the head as he sat at a kitchen counter of his mobile home. Barker had answered a personal ad that Head had put in the paper. His cash and gun were missing, and police found physical evidence linking Head to the murder.
Family members have confirmed that Head has hitched rides with truckers for years. She’s been married to at least 10 men, and it’s suspected that she prostitutes herself for rides and cash. Head is 50, 5 foot 2 inches, approximately 120 pounds, has green/hazel eyes and has been known to dye her reddish blond hair. Head uses many aliases including Hazel Foley, Willow Shields and Deianna Ray.
There have been six episodes on AMW that featured Head, and each episode has brought leads. Dectective Charles Scholz of the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Department says that sightings of Head at truckstops have stretched from California to Maine. Since there are no known addresses for her, she keeps dodging the authorities.
“The case is pretty much the same,” Scholz says. “I appreciate all leads and am working on a few now. The FBI has been a big help. When I get a lead, they have the manpower to run it down.”
In the latest AMW episode that recaps the case, on March 31, trucker Chuck Iman said he’d seen Head at an Atlanta Travel Plaza. “It’s not safe to pick anyone up anymore,” Iman said. “I saw her at another truck using someone’s CB.”
Another suspect, Tonya Dice, was reportedly seen at the same Atlanta truck stop by employees and truckers on the same night as Head. Dice is 26, 5 foot 9 inches and weighs 165 pounds. She has been wanted for murder since 1995. Authorities also want to question her about another death that occurred 200 feet from her home in Chambersburg, Pa.
“We’re not sure the trucking angle is correct,” FBI Special Agent Robert Craft said. “We’re thinking she’s still in the Atlanta area.”
AMW called on NATSO, the national trade association representing travel plaza and truckstop owners and operators, for help. NATSO faxed an alert to its 1,100 truckstops and posted a notice on its website.
“They are angry,” Lisa Mullings, NATSO vice president of public affairs and staff attorney said on the show. “They feel this woman is preying on their customers, and they want her found immediately.”
The American Truckstop Association also put an alert on its webpage offering a direct link to Americasmostwanted.com. After the organizations assisted AMW, the show received numerous tips.
The third case concerns Clayton Waagner who broke out of Illinois’ Dewitt County Jail in February after vowing to kill doctors of abortion clinics. AMW received two tips that he was seen at a truckstop in Knoxville, Tenn. The U.S. Marshal’s office wants to catch him soon before he can carry out his plans.
The search for Waagner is one of the largest in U.S. Marshal history. He has a history of burglary and drug charges. Waagner committed burglary and stole a vehicle in Pennsylvania. He drove to Illinois where he was arrested. He was carrying five loaded handguns.
“We still feel he’s probably riding with truckers,” Deputy U.S. Marshal Kevin Jackson said. “He’s hanging out at truckstops and may have befriended a trucker.”
Clayton is 44, 6 foot 1 inch and weighs 195 pounds. He was spotted at a truckstop in West Memphis, Ark., and after a second broadcast was seen by truckers and waitresses at a Petro truckstop in Knoxville. Authorities swarmed truckstops in the Knoxville area and missed Waagner by minutes at a Pilot truckstop.
He is believed to have traveled east to Pennsylvania and then to Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia where he has family. Authorities are concerned that truckers won’t call with tips because many trucking companies have policies against giving hitchhikers a ride. AMW wants to reassure truckers that tips that they call in can remain anonymous.
Anyone with information about Head, Dice or Waagner can call AMW at (800) CRIME-TV.