While there might not be too many real-life Thelma and Louises, every once in a while, a woman is considered dangerous enough to make the FBI's official list of 10 Most Wanted fugitives. This week, accused murderer Shanika S. Minor became the 509th person – yet only the 10th woman – to be added to the list since its debut in 1950. Though former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was at first wary about creating a list of the most wanted criminals – as to not encourage the behavior – a 1950 news story on the "toughest guys" evading the FBI changed his mind. He quickly launched the program, hoping that excitement and publicity caused by the article would lead to citizen participation in the discovery and capture of dangerous fugitives. Here, meet the 10 women menacing enough to make the cut.
Added June 28th, 2016
Shanika S. Minor, the 10th woman to be one of the FBI's "10 Most Wanted," made the list this June after allegedly killing a pregnant woman in Milwaukee who "disrespected" her family. According to the agency, last February, Minor's mother mentioned to her daughter that her neighbor had been playing loud music late at night. But when 25-year-old Minor confronted the neighbor on the street with a semi-automatic weapon, Minor's mother ran out to diffuse the situation. Minor relented, but was left feeling that her family was "disrespected." A week later, around 3 a.m., Minor entered the neighbor's duplex through the common hallway and encountered the woman at her rear her door. Minor's mother ran down again – placing herself between the two women – but Minor was able to reach over her mother and shoot her in the chest, which killed her almost instantly. Her unborn child, due within a week, died before the ambulance got there. That was early March, and Minor was on the run until the early hours of July 1 – just three days after she was added to the list – when she was apprehended in a North Carolina motel.
Added April 6th, 2016; captured April 8th, 2016
In 2015, Mexican national Brenda Delgado was wanted for facilitating the murder of Dr. Kendra Hatcher in her apartment complex's parking garage in Dallas. Hatcher, a pediatric dentist, was dating Delgado's ex-boyfriend, earning Delgado the title of "jilted lover" in news sources covering Hatcher's murder and Delgado's arrest. Authorities believed that Delgado was moved to action after discovering that Hatcher had been introduced to her ex's parents and that the couple was planning a vacation to Cancun. The two accomplices who carried out Delgado's orders were bribed with money and drugs, which, according to the FBI, she said came from cartel connections in Mexico. Following the murder, Delgado fled. Two days before she was apprehended in Coahuila, Mexico, the FBI added the 33-year-old dental hygienist to the Most Wanted list, saying she "should be considered armed and dangerous." She was taken into custody on April 8th, 2016 and charged with murder and avoiding prosecution.
Added March 31st, 2007; captured March 31st, 2007
On the same day she was added to the Most Wanted list, Henderson was arrested for killing a DeAndre Parker, 21, who was shot in his pickup truck outside a convenience store in her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, in September 2006. Henderson, then 24, was already a suspected murderer and a member of the city's notorious 12th Street Gang; authorities believed her to be involved in five other murders and as many as 50 gang-related shootings. After the September shooting, Henderson kept a low profile, until she reemerged and allegedly facilitated a spate of gang warfare. She was found in Kansas City and convicted of voluntary manslaughter and armed criminal action. Henderson served three years in jail and was released in 2010, but was arrested again five months later for possession of a firearm. Not only did she get seven-and-a-half years for the weapon, a judge gave her 10 years for violating the terms of her probation.
Added May 22nd, 1987; Surrendered December 6th, 1994
A member of the Weather Underground – the radical activist movement that was known for using violence as an effective means of protesting societal constructs like racism, sexism, classism, as well as the Vietnam War – Donna Jean Willmott was charged in 1985 with buying and transporting explosives to blow up a maximum-security prison in Kansas. It was part of a plot to free Oscar Lopez, a leader of Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional, a Puerto Rican separatist organization known for using violence to further their cause. The FBI originally located the pair when Marks bought what he believed to be 37 pounds of explosives from a merchant who was actually an undercover agent. When Marks and Willmott found an FBI monitoring device in their car, they and their future spouses fled and went underground. While she was wanted by the FBI as a terrorist, she transformed into Jo Elliott, a neighborhood fixture in her Pittsburgh community, volunteer with the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force and Children's AIDS Project, doting mother and loyal friend.
In 1994, Willmott, along with Claude Daniel Marks, her partner in the 1985 crime who had been living a few blocks away under the name Greg Peters, turned themselves into federal authorities in Chicago after almost a year of negotiations. The two surrendered in December, and Willmott was sentenced to three years in prison that May. Marks was sentenced to six years due to his larger role in the plot.
Added October 10th, 1970; dropped June 6th, 1984
In 1970, Power, a senior at Brandeis University and an active participant in the national committee that coordinated student-led protests, robbed a National Guard armory and a bank in Massachusetts with her roommate Susan Edith Saxe and three ex-cons — one of whom, Stanley Bond, was romantically involved with Power and went to the university through its prison furlough program — to protest the Vietnam War. The intention was to steal enough money to provide arms for the Black Panthers. While they were able to snag $26,000, one of the men killed the first police officer on the scene, and it thwarted their getaway.
For 23 years, Power lived underground as Alice Louise Metzinger, a wife, mother and cooking and nutrition teacher at a community college in Oregon. In high school, she had won a Betty Crocker Homemaker Award, and her culinary prowess once again came in handy when she and a friend, Marilyn Schwader, opened M's Tea and Coffee House. By 1984, there were no longer leads on Power, and the FBI dropped her from the Most Wanted list. However, living a lie became too much, and after 16 months of therapy, Power pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter and armed robbery in 1993. She was sent to prison, and was released in 1999.
Power and Saxe were roommates during their senior year of college, and Saxe was just as involved as Power in the student activist movement. And she, like Power, was also in love with the ex-con and robbery accomplice Stanley Bond. But unlike Power, five years after the robbery, Saxe was arrested in Philadelphia after a policeman recognized her from a FBI image, and she served eight years out of a 12 to 14 year sentence for manslaughter and armed robbery. In a 1993 piece on Power for The New York Times, Power's therapist said of the two women, "They are so appalled at what's going on in Vietnam that they want to do something. They decide to rob a bank and give the money away. But they don't know anything about robbing a bank." She ran a successful computer company from jail and was paroled in 1982.
Added October 14th, 1970; Charges dismissed, December 7th, 1973
By 1970, University of Chicago Law School graduate Bernadine Rae Dorhn was a leader of the Weather Underground. Dohrn went into hiding in March of that year after three of the Weathermen were killed while trying to manufacture bombs, accidentally blowing up a town house in New York's Greenwich Village. She was dropped from the Most Wanted list after three years when District Court Judge Damon Keith dismissed the 1970 case against the Weatherman due to the government's illegal means of obtaining information against the movement's members. She and her soon-to-be husband, William C. Ayers, another leader of the movement, resurfaced in 1980 and she pled guilty to aggravated battery and jumping bail. She was fined and placed on three years probation. Two years later, Dohrn spent seven months in jail for not cooperating with grand jury one the investigation of the 1981 armed robbery of a Brink's armored car in Nanuet, New York. That robbery, perpetrated by members of the Black Liberation Army and former members of the Weathermen, resulted in the deaths of a Brink's guard and two police officers.
Since 1998, she has taught as a clinical associate professor at Northwestern University School of Law.
Added August 18th, 1970; captured October 13th, 1970
Davis' placement on the FBI's watch list was highly controversial. In 1970, the former philosophy professor was charged with murder and kidnapping, leading to her evasion of the police and being put on the most wanted list. But as The New York Times reported a day after her arrest, "The charges against Miss Davis do not allege that she was at the scene of the kidnap-murders…Miss Davis was charged under a California law that makes an accomplice equally guilty for having purchased the guns used." The guns in question were used for a courthouse kidnapping during the trial of the Soledad Brothers' – George L Jackson, Fleeta Drumgo, and John Wesley Clutchette, accused of killing a white guard Soledad prison – that left four dead, including a judge. She was acquitted in 1972 and cleared of all charges, going on to become a famed political activist, prisoners' rights advocate, and influential scholar in her post at the University of California Santa Cruz. Last March, in honor of Women's History Month, Democracy Now! held an interview with Davis about the upcoming presidential election and the role of Black Lives Matter in the election season.
Added May 29th, 1969; captured December 22nd, 1971
Marie Dean Arrington was placed on the FBI list after escaping from prison in Marion County, Florida. She had been incarcerated since 1968 for the violent murder of Vivian "June" Ritter, the 37-year-old secretary of Florida public defender Bob Pierce. After Pierce unsuccessfully defended both of Arrington's children – her son for armed robbery and her daughter for fraud and forgery – Arrington sought closure. When she went to his office, though, he wasn't there, so Arrington took his secretary hostage, shot her multiple times, and ran her over with Ritter's own car. All of this was part of a grandiose – yet unsuccessful – plan to ensure her son's release from his lifetime prison sentence.
According to her obituary in the Orlando Sentinel, this wasn't her first crime. She had already been convicted of manslaughter for the death of her husband, and was out on bail awaiting sentencing at the time of Ritter's murder. In 1971, she was found waitressing in New Orleans and given the death penalty, until it was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1972, and her sentence was commuted to life in prison. But her crimes didn't stop just because she was behind bars – over the years, she accrued 61 violations for possession of weapons, drugs, battery and inciting a riot, among other offenses.
In 2014, Arrington died at age 80 from heart problems at the Lowell Correctional Institution Annex in Marion County, Florida – the same prison from which she'd escaped 45 years before.
Added December 28th, 1968; captured March 5th, 1969
At 26, Ruth Eismann-Schier became the first woman considered dangerous enough to warrant a spot on the FBI's list after aiding Gary Steven Krist in the kidnapping of 20-year-old Barbara Jane Mackle. Mackle's father had a personal relationship with president-elect Richard Nixon – as well as his status as a millionaire land developer in Florida – so Krist figured her family would be able to pay a hefty ransom for her return. On December 17, 1968, Eismann-Schier and Krist kidnapped Mackle from an Atlanta motel room and buried her in a box a foot and a half underground. The kidnappers kept her alive – they supplied an air pump, food, water, and a battery-powered lamp in the box – and they successfully demanded $500,000 in $20 bills for her release. Mackle was rescued on December 20th, 1968, 83 hours after her burial. Krist was soon captured, but Eismann-Schier fled. She was placed on the FBI's "10 Most Wanted List" on December 28nd, and was indicted for kidnapping on January 3rd, 1969. She evaded capture until March 5th and was found only after applying for a nursing position in Oklahoma under the name Donna Sue Wills, due to a routine applicant fingerprint check.
That May, Eismann-Schier pled guilty, claiming that she was in love with Krist. Serving three years of her seven-year sentence, she was then deported to her native Honduras. Krist was granted parole in 1979 due to cited personality changes and the chairman of the Georgia Parole Board's argument that, because there was no intent to kill and Mackle was found alive, "little harm was done."