For Immediate Release
|January 11, 2011||Senior Inspector Barry Golden (954) 214-0301|
|U.S. Marshals Arrest Escapee Fugitive Who Has Been on the Run for 30 Years|
Homosassa, FL – Deputy U.S. Marshals in Miami have tracked down a federal fugitive who escaped from custody 30 years ago and was living in a small rural town in Central Florida. 71-year old Ian Jackson MacDonald was arrested at a house in Homosassa, Florida this afternoon by the U.S. Marshals assigned to the Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force in Gainesville. MacDonald, who had previously lived in Canada, entered the United States in 1978. On January 25, 1980, the Clerk of the Peace for the Eastern Judicial District of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada issued an arrest warrant for MacDonald charging him with Importation and Trafficking in up to 500 pounds of Marijuana. MacDonald was arrested in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida pursuant to a Provisional Arrest Warrant which was issued on February 28, 1980 which commanded MacDonald to be extradited back to Canada to face the outstanding drug charges.
MacDonald was to remain in custody until he was extradited back to Canada. While MacDonald was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institute in South Miami-Dade County. MacDonald faked a heart attack and was taken to Coral Reef Hospital for treatment. On June 16, 1980, after less than 24 hours in the hospital, MacDonald convinced a private security officer to un-shackle his legs and allowed MacDonald to take a shower. At approximately 12:15 am, the security officer walked to the nurse’s station, and when he returned, MacDonald was gone.
MacDonald, who had taken on the nickname, “BIG MAC” was now a federal fugitive, and on the run. Deputy Marshals assigned to the case immediately tracked down MacDonald’s wife, Angela MacDonald the morning after his escape. They found her at the couple’s home located at 3332 NE 16 Court in Fort Lauderdale. Angela MacDonald refused to give any details or make a statement to Deputy Marshals regarding her husband or his escape.
On October 31, 1980, a warrant was issued for MacDonald’s arrest charging his with Escape from the U.S. Marshals. Deputy Marshals began an intense investigation to track down the Canadian drug dealer who had lived a lavish lifestyle owning several expensive cars, limousines, boats, and planes. The Fort Lauderdale News/Sun-Sentinel newspaper even published an article on October 25, 1980 detailing the events of MacDonald’s escape and lifestyle. The headline read, “Who’s the ‘real’ Ian J. MacDonald?” According to the Sun-Sentinel article MacDonald was once a deputy police chief in a small town in Canada.
Over the next 30 years, MacDonald would remain a fugitive, and remain under the radar of law enforcement with no new information being developed by each and every Deputy Marshal who was assigned to work this case. In the Fall of 2010, the U.S. Marshals Service in Miami formed a Cold Case Fugitive Squad. The Deputy Marshals assigned to this squad are seasoned investigators, and their primarily function is to investigate fugitive cases more than 10 years old. The Deputy Marshal currently assigned to the MacDonald case noticed a hand written document deep inside the file which gave some specific information about MacDonald’s wife. That small piece of information led Deputy Marshals to a new name for MacDonald and his wife.
The Cold Case Deputy conducted more research which turned up a new identity for the elusive fugitive and his wife. MacDonald obtained a fraudulent Pennsylvania driver license in the name of Jack D. Hunter using a date of birth of 02/01/1948. MacDonald’s real birth year is 1939. The cold case deputy contacted the Pennsylvania U.S. Marshals and asked them to provide him with a photo of Jack D. Hunter. When Deputy Marshals in Miami received the photo from Pennsylvania, they hit pay dirt. Even though the new identity for MacDonald was more than 20 years old, Deputy Marshals could tell Jack Hunter was really Ian Jackson MacDonald.
Deputy Marshals also realized, Angela MacDonald, the woman who refused to talk about her fugitive husband 30 years ago, was now using the name, Angela Hunter. The fugitive and his wife were living in a rural home in southwest Pennsylvania three decades after MacDonald escaped from a hospital in South Florida. The U.S. Marshals in Miami sent a lead to the Marshals in Pittsburgh to investigate the address where MacDonald was now believed to be living under a new name.
Deputy Marshals in Pittsburgh spoke to a neighbor who stated that MacDonald was currently in Florida. The Marshals in Miami did more research and discovered the MacDonald had another address under his new identity in Homosassa, Florida. MacDonald’s wife, now using the name Angela Hunter purchased a house located at 7260 S. Spartan Ave, Homosassa, Florida in June 2009.
The U.S. Marshals in Miami now enlisted the
help of the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force in
Gainesville. The Gainesville Marshals quickly mobilized and set up
surveillance on the Homosassa address. At approximately 3:00 o’clock pm
today, MacDonald walked outside the house and the Marshals surveillance
personnel positively identified that person as MacDonald. The Marshals and
task force members immediately went to the house and placed MacDonald under
MacDonald had received new tattoos on his arms to help hide the identifying tattoos the Marshals had in their file. Deputy Marshals on scene told MacDonald, “we know who you are”. When Deputy Marshals told MacDonald they already knew his “true” name, his response was, “you’re right, you got me”, “how did you find me”? MacDonald then said “I have been looking over my shoulder all these years; I wondered when this day would come”.
MacDonald was transported to the Marion
County jail, and will make his initial appearance on the Escape charges
tomorrow in Middle District of Florida Federal courthouse in Orlando,
Florida. When Cold Case Deputy Marshals in Miami positively identified
MacDonald using the fraudulent name in Pennsylvania, they contacted the
Canadian authorities. Canadian law enforcement confirmed the arrest warrant
for Importation of Marijuana is still active and after 30 years, MacDonald
will face those charges in Canada.