Springfield, MO – Acting U.S. Marshal Scott Seeling, Western District of Missouri announces the arrest of three fugitives who escaped from the Barry County (MO) Jail on June 3, 2022, in Cassville, MO.
Christopher Blevins, Lance Stephens, and Matthew Crawford were all housed in the Barry County Jail on charges ranging from drug possession, drug distribution, weapons possession and theft. On June 3, 2022, all three fugitives escaped from the Barry County Jail and quickly separated. The Barry County Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Midwest Violent Fugitive Task Force (MVFT) in Springfield, MO, to assist with locating and apprehending the three escapees. An intensive, 11-day, interstate man hunt ensued to bring the three fugitives to justice.
On June 8, 2022, a Marshals Service Task Force Officer developed information that Blevins was in Casper, WY. Marshals Service investigators coordinated with local officers with the Casper Police Department and the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office. Based upon that information and interagency cooperation, local authorities in Wyoming quickly apprehended Blevins following a short vehicle pursuit.
Simultaneously, U.S. Marshals continued to conduct interviews and develop information regarding the location of Matthew Crawford. On June 13, 2022, Midwest Violent Fugitive Task Force Officers from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Apprehension Unit (FAU) tracked Matthew Crawford to an abandoned home in Springfield, MO. They quickly took him into custody without incident.
The investigation continued to find the final escapee, Lance Stephens. On June 14, 2022, Marshals Service investigators developed further information that Stephens had traveled to San Antonio, TX. This information was passed to the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force (LSFTF) in San Antonio. Moving quickly, Lone Star Fugitive Task Force investigators took Stephens into custody within a matter of hours. Upon arrest, Stephens was in possession of methamphetamine, marijuana, and over $5,000. The investigation revealed Stephens was attempting to flee to Mexico.
The arrest of these three fugitives represents the culmination of an extensive, multi-state, cooperative investigative effort between the Barry County Sheriff's Office (MO), Greene County Sheriff's Office (MO), Springfield Police Department (MO), the U.S. Marshals Service-Lonestar Fugitive Task Force (TX), Casper Police Department (WY), Natrona County Sheriff’s Department (WY) and the U.S. Marshals Service-Midwest Violent Fugitive Task Force.
The U.S. Marshals Midwest Violent Fugitive Task Force—Springfield Division, operates in conjunction with members of the Greene County Sheriff's Office and the Springfield Police Department. Marshal Seeling stated, "Complex fugitive investigations of this sort would not be possible without our task force partners, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department and the Springfield Police Department. Our Task Force Officer's ability to collaborate and cooperate quickly with federal, state, and local law enforcement across the nation was key to our success in locating and apprehending these dangerous fugitives."
The task force objectives are to seek out and arrest fugitives charged with violent crimes, drug offenses, sex offenders and other serious felonies. Nationally the United States Marshals Service fugitive programs are carried out with local law enforcement in 94 district offices, 85 local fugitive task forces, 7 regional task forces, as well as a growing network of offices in foreign countries.