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For Immediate Release

October 6, 2017 Middle District of Pennsylvania; (570) 499-1201
USMS Office of Public Affairs; (703) 740-1699
45-Year-Old State Prison Escape Case May Be Solved
SCRANTON, Pa. –U.S. Marshals in Scranton may have successfully brought closure to a 45-year-old prison escape investigation.

William Van Scoten, a fugitive on the run more than four decades, has been sought for escaping from the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution - Dallas on July 12, 1972 (wanted poster).

Van Scoten was working on a prison detail established to aid in the aftermath of the Hurricane Agnes flood which devastated the Wilkes-Barre community. He took advantage of this opportunity and escaped from the work detail, and has been at large ever since. At the time, Van Scoten was 43 years old and had served only two years of a 10- to 20-year prison sentence stemming from a burglary conviction.

In 1998, authorities at SCI-Dallas requested the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force in the Middle District of Pennsylvania to investigate the whereabouts of Van Scoten.

“We’ve had success in resolving several cold case escapes from SCI-Dallas, but 26 years had passed before we adopted this fugitive investigation,” said Martin Pane, U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. “The best cold case fugitive investigators worked diligently, analyzing all aspects related to Van Scoten’s past. We did not discount or rule out any potential leads which were sent out to Wyoming, Florida, Oregon, California, Tennessee, Maryland, Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Vermont and Arizona and Canada.”

Van Scoten often worked as a baker, and while on the run he was able to avoid contact with law enforcement. Recently, the fugitive task force learned from a family member that Van Scoten may have been using an alias, that he had assumed the name of David Paul Hudson and had been living in Canada for a number of years and that he may have died in Waterford, Ontario, August 30, 2003. District Marshals are coordinating with the U.S. Marshals Service International Investigations Branch and Canadian authorities, who are attempting to confirm this.

“To confirm a fugitive’s identity when he or she has died can be very difficult, especially in a foreign land,” Pane said. “However, the Marshals Service has had extensive cooperation with the Canadian authorities in the past and we are aware their custom is to generally fingerprint those who have passed on. We are waiting confirmation from the Canadian authorities. Persistence pays off and we are hopeful for a positive confirmation. As we await that confirmation, I commend the fugitive task force personnel for their diligence in this case. It is important that the public know and fugitives know, we will never stop searching for those who try and escape justice.”

Members of the Pennsylvania State Police, the fugitive task force, and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections have provided significant assistance on this case.


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