On March 14, 1950, the Federal Bureau of Investigation introduces the "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" list in an effort to publicize particularly dangerous fugitives. The creation of the program arose out of a wire service news story in 1949 about the "toughest guys" the FBI wanted to capture. The story drew so much public attention that the "Ten Most Wanted" list was given the okay by J. Edgar Hoover the following year.
The Criminal Investigative Division (CID) of the FBI asks all fifty-six field offices to submit candidates for inclusion on the list. The CID in association with the Office of Public and Congressional Affairs then proposes finalists for approval by the FBI's Deputy Director. The criteria for selection is simple, the criminal must have a lengthy record and current pending charges that make him or her particularly dangerous and the FBI must believe that the publicity associated with placement on the list will assist in the apprehension of the fugitive. Generally, the only way to get off the list is to die or to be captured. There have only been a handful of cases where a fugitive has been removed from the list because they were no longer a particularly dangerous menace to society. Only eight women have appeared on the Ten Most Wanted list. Ruth Eisemann-Schier was the first in 1968. The FBI also worked closely with the Fox television show America's Most Wanted to further publicize the effort to capture dangerous felons.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of numerous books that include Murder and Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California, 1849-1949. The book can be purchased at Amazon through the following link: