© Alexander Demianchuk/Reuters/Corbis
He was about to become the most hated man in American, given the murder he had just committed. For the time being though, he had managed to slip out a door and into the night on horseback. More than a week later -- with a law enforcement agency and an actual army on his tail -- John Wilkes Booth had continued to evade capture by slipping across the Potomac, aided by sympathizers. But April 26, 1865, found Booth hiding in a Virginia farmhouse, where Union soldiers set fire to the structure and lured him to the porch, killing him in a shootout.
Like unhappy families, every on-the-lam criminal is on-the-lam in his or her own way. For example, Whitey Bulger, a Boston mobster who spent 16 years hiding from authorities to avoid criminal charges, was taken into FBI custody in Santa Monica after ambling out to his garage to inspect a storage locker. On the other hand, you have Osama bin Laden, who spent 10 years hiding from nearly every global security agency imaginable, taken down by an elite force of Navy SEALs.
And then there's your more run-of-the-mill manhunt, the kind we associate with cop shows: a criminal who initially eluded local police but, after some decent police work, is found within hours or days. Not something the FBI or Navy SEALs would deal with, but no small security matter in the community.
In this article, we'll take a look at several different types of manhunts, and get some inside information about the tactics used to Get Their Guy (or Girl). Buckle the seat belt in your pursuit car, as we tackle some of the basics of how manhunts take place.