Real Name: Jean Marie Gagnon
Aliases: None Known
Wanted For: Escape, Armed Robbery, and Attempted Murder
Missing Since: August 1985
Details: Jean Marie Gagnon is a French Canadian criminal guilty of armed robbery and attempted murder. He and his long-time partner in crime Louis Bourgeois robbed a Springfield, Massachusetts bank on June 10, 1977; they made off with $140,000. While escaping, they shot and wounded a police officer. A passerby wrote down the license plate of their getaway car, which was traced to Bourgeois. Gagnon was identified in surveillance video, casing the bank. The two were arrested in Canada in February of 1978. They were both convicted of armed robbery and attempted murder; they were sentenced to forty years in prison.
The two were sent to Walpole State Prison and were considered high escape risks. In 1985, Gagnon and Bourgeois were called to testify for a civil suit in Illinois. In July of 1985, the U.S. Marshals were brought in to transfer the criminals to the Illinois court. One month later, on August 13, 1985, the criminals were being taken back to Massachusetts when they got stuck in a traffic jam in Hartford, Connecticut. The vehicle they were being transported in had handles on the back doors. Authorities believe that Gagnon had hidden a handcuff key in his mouth. He and Bourgeois then un-cuffed themselves and escaped through the back doors. The two were in excellent physical condition; they were able to outrun the marshals.
Hartford police began an immediate search for the two fugitives. Bourgeois bought a bus ticket to New York, but as he was getting on, he noticed a Hartford police cruiser pull up to the bus. He immediately got off the bus and fled, but was apprehended nearby. Bourgeois was returned to Massachusetts and was given an extra year in prison for his escape.
Investigators were able to track some of Gagnon's movements after the escape. A parking attendant found U.S. Marshals "belly chains" in the stairwell of a Hartford parking garage. Bloodhounds tracked his scent from the parking garage to the Connecticut River. Three hours after the escape, he was seen on the other side of the river, dripping wet. A woman said Gagnon tried to open her car door while she was stuck in traffic. Other than this sighting, Gagnon has not been seen since the escape. His partner, Bourgeois, refuses to speak to investigators about his whereabouts. He has been caught trying to escape several times, presumably in an attempt to return to his partner.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the February 8, 1989 episode. It was excluded from Amazon Prime episodes. According to Robert Stack, when Gagnon was arrested, he denied being able to speak with a French accent.
Results: Captured. After the broadcast, viewers said that Gagnon was living in Buford, Georgia under the assumed name Jean Pierre DuPont. However, he vanished on the night of the broadcast before authorities could arrest him.
Six days later on February 14, Gagnon was pulled over by a highway patrolman on an interstate near Willows, California. The officers felt that Gagnon was suspicious, but since he was using his assumed name of "DuPont," he was not immediately arrested. The officers contacted Florida authorities since he was driving a Florida car, but at first they did not receive a response. Still suspicious of him, the police decided to follow him down the highway. When they received word from Florida authorities that DuPont was actually Gagnon, they moved in and arrested him.
Gagnon was eventually returned to Massachusetts to serve the rest of his sentence. He was released from custody in May of 1995, and Bourgeois in 2001. Gagnon later worked as an English instructor in Quebec. Famous running race director Dave McGillivray mentioned Gagnon and Bouregois being participants in an inmate running program he started at MCI Cedar Junction prior to their escape.
- Commonwealth v. Gagnon
- Fugitive from Massachusetts is caught in California
- Fugitive Nabbed After His Story Appears On TV Show
- The State (Article about Gagnon's arrest)
- 'Most Wanted' fugitive nabbed through 'Unsolved Mysteries'
- Fugitive Featured On TV Show Nabbed