Real Name: Paul Eugene Stamper
Aliases: None Known
Wanted For: Abuse, Harassment, Abduction, Attempted Murder, Terrorism, Escape
Missing Since: April 28, 1986
Details: Paul Stamper moved to Kingfisher, Oklahoma, to start an oil equipment operation. He hired a twenty-year-old named Theresa Walden as his secretary. She was smitten by him; after working for him for a few weeks, the two began dating. On her birthday, he bought her a new Corvette. Soon, he asked her to marry him and she agreed.
Theresa believed that she was marrying a kind businessman. In reality, Paul was a convicted felon who had spent time in prison for theft, assault, and fraud. More recently, his business practices came under investigation in Oklahoma. There were some reports that Paul had purposefully damaged people's oil equipment, so that they would call him and have him fix the equipment.
Within six months, the marriage became a living hell for Theresa. When she would go to get groceries, he would accuse her of cheating on him. Whenever she would go out, he would follow her or he would have people follow her. Sometimes, he would refuse to let her leave the house without him. Many times, he would beat her and abuse her just for looking at someone.
Eventually, Paul was arrested and charged with assault and battery. However, the charges were inexplicably dropped. This occurred at least five times. He bragged to Theresa that he was paying off the authorities.
On the evening of January 5, 1985, a man wielding a knife broke into the Stamper home. Theresa was out of town, but a female friend was staying over. The man brutally stabbed the friend while she lay on the couch. Fortunately, she survived and called the police. She identified her assailant as Gary Trout, a local mechanic who worked for Paul. Trout told investigators that he was contacted by Paul and was asked to kill Theresa. He agreed to pay him $10,000 for the crime.
Paul was arrested and charged with accessory to attempted murder. However, at Trout's trial, he refused to testify against Paul. Once again, the charges against him were dropped. As a result of the most recent attack, Theresa left Paul and moved in with her parents. However, she still did not feel safe. He repeatedly threatened her, and on the night of September 13, 1984, he carried out one of his threats by shooting at her parents' home. She contacted the police, but nothing was done.
On November 23, 1985, Theresa left a party with her new boyfriend, Chris Butler. Unbeknownst to them, Paul was watching them with a high-powered telescope in his car. A few minutes later, as they were driving down the highway, they were pulled over by what they thought was a highway patrolman. When the man reached their vehicle, they realized that it was Paul. He then shot Chris and abducted Theresa.
Chris was seriously wounded, but he survived. Meanwhile, Paul drove north, while holding Theresa at gunpoint. Two days later, they stopped at a restaurant in Topeka, Kansas. Surprisingly, he let her use the restroom while there. During this time, she went to the manager's office and had him call the police. However, Paul vanished before police arrived.
Five hours later, however, he was arrested while boarding a bus in Salinas, Kansas. He was returned to Kingfisher and was held at the county jail to await trial. At 3:30 am on April 28, 1986, a man broke into the jail and held a gun to the prison guard. He forced her to open Paul's jail cell. Paul then escaped with the man, who had been paid $10,000 to help him escape.
Theresa will remain in constant fear until Paul Stamper is caught.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 16, 1991 episode. It was also featured in the television film Escape from Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story.
Results: Captured. On the night of the broadcast, Stamper was arrested in Commerce, Colorado near Denver due to viewers' tips. He had been using the assumed name Gary Wikel and was living in Denver for four years.
He pleaded guilty to kidnapping, attempted murder, and prison escape and was sentenced to thirty-five years in prison, later getting released on parole in 2002 after serving only ten years.
- TV Program Ends 5 Years of Freedom for Escapee
- Review: ‘From the Files of ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ Escape from Terror — The Teresa Stamper Story’