Major Case Closed: U.S. Marshals Capture Army Deserter Wanted for 2016 Murder of Wife in SC
For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Marshals in Oregon have arrested a South Carolina murder suspect, putting an end to the man’s six-year run from the law.
Major Case Fugitive John Tufton Blauvelt, 33, was taken into custody in Medford, Oregon, July 20 by U.S. Marshals and Medford police following a lead provided by a dedicated cold case team of investigators at the agency’s headquarters.
Blauvelt is wanted for the killing of his estranged wife, Catherine “Cati” Blauvelt, who was found stabbed to death in an abandoned home in Simpsonville on Oct. 24, 2016. She was 22. Cati had been reported missing by her family the previous day after failing to meet with her friends after work. She was last seen leaving her place of work, a Greenville pet store, at approximately 2:15 p.m. on Oct. 23, 2016.
On Nov. 18, 2016, Simpsonville Police obtained warrants for Blauvelt’s arrest for murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
Blauvelt, who worked as a U.S. Army recruiter in Greenville County at the time of the murder, but was classified by the Army as a deserter shortly thereafter, fled the area just after the murder with his 17-year-old girlfriend Hannah Thompson, of Fountain Inn. Blauvelt had last been seen in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Nov. 15, 2016, traveling with a female passenger police said they believe was Thompson.
Thompson's parents reported the teen missing to the Fountain Inn Police Department on Nov. 21, 2016.
After the U.S. Marshals joined the search to find Blauvelt, they learned he and Thompson had traveled through Alabama, Texas and California.
Thompson was found safe in Oregon on Dec. 12, 2016, having been abandoned by Blauvelt. She went to a family friend’s home in Eugene and called her parents, saying she wanted to come home. She and Blauvelt had been homeless while in Oregon.
The case was aired on In Pursuit with John Walsh in 2019.
In early 2022, a U.S. Marshals dedicated cold and complex case investigative team, composed of various USMS components, joined the investigation for Blauvelt. Working closely with investigators from the District of South Carolina, the Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force, as well as Simpsonville detectives, the South Carolina Highway Patrol and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, the team was able to put Blauvelt in Medford, Oregon, and sent a collateral lead to the District of Oregon. The U.S. Marshals Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force in Oregon committed numerous personnel and hours to the investigation. Ultimately, investigators there, working with the Medford Police Department and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, located Blauvelt, who had assumed the alias “Ben Klein,” and took him into custody without incident.
Blauvelt is being held in Jackson County Jail pending extradition to South Carolina to face the charges against him.
“This arrest represents a tremendous amount of cooperation among numerous agencies dedicated to seeking justice for a victim of a heinous crime six years ago,” said Heather Walker-Wright, Assistant Director of the USMS Investigative Operations Division. “I want to commend the investigators and Deputy U.S. Marshals in South Carolina, Oregon and here at headquarters, as well as our partner agencies, who worked so tirelessly to get John Blauvelt into custody.”
Acting U.S. Marshal for the District of South Carolina Karen Thomas said, “The U.S. Marshals Service dedication to duty, pursuit of justice, and relentless team effort across the nation led to the capture of a violent fugitive.”
“I hope that the arrest of John Blauvelt brings Cati’s family some relief from the situation that they have had to endure the past few years,” said Simpsonville Police Chief Mike Henshaw. “I want to thank the U.S. Marshals Service and all the various agencies that assisted in making this arrest possible. The team effort by law enforcement is to be commended.”
Established in 1985, the U.S. Marshals Major Case Fugitive Program prioritizes the investigation and apprehension of high-profile offenders considered to be some of the country’s most dangerous. These individuals tend to be career criminals with histories of violence or whose instant offense(s) poses a significant threat to public safety.
Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at https://www.usmarshals.gov.
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