Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Manhunt (law enforcement)

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Manhunt (law enforcement)

In law enforcement, a manhunt is an extensive and thorough search for a wanted and dangerous fugitive involving the use of police units, technology, and help from the public.


A manhunt is conducted when the suspect believed to be responsible for a serious crime is at large and is believed to be within a certain area. Any police units within reach of the area will then participate in the search, each covering parts of the area. The officers will, if possible, form a perimeter around the area, guarding any and all possible escape routes from the containment.

A manhunt may have one of the following outcomes:

  • The successful capture of the suspect within the area of the manhunt
  • Escape from the area by the suspect, followed by plans by other law enforcement agencies to search for the suspect elsewhere
  • The search being called off, if police determine the chances of catching the suspect are minimal
  • Also, if the fugitive resists using deadly force with the law enforcement officers, they are typically authorized to respond in kind.

    Fugitive manhunt agencies and organizations

  • America's Most Wanted
  • Bounty hunter
  • British Security Service (MI5)
  • Greater London Metropolitan Police
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • FBI Hostage Rescue Team
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Teams
  • The Academy Group
  • Texas Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety
  • US Marshals Service
  • Public involvement

    Sometimes, police departments conducting manhunts will solicit help from the public in locating the suspect. They will do this by broadcasting a description and other information on television, radio, and other public media, by going door to door and asking individuals if they have seen the suspect, and by placing wanted posters in public places.

    When this happens, citizens are advised not to personally confront the suspect, but rather to call police and report their sightings.

    One type of manhunt for which public participation is normally sought is an AMBER Alert. In an Amber Alert, the main purpose of the mission is to rescue the victim, ahead of the capture of the suspect. The public is usually given notice of an Amber Alert through additional forms of media, including highway overhead signs and text messaging.

    If anyone is found aiding the suspect in any way, such as helping the suspect in hiding, or providing false information to the police about the suspect, may face legal consequences themselves, even being charged for the same crime as the suspect.

  • 1982 Chicago Tylenol murders
  • 1993 shootings at CIA Headquarters
  • 2001 anthrax attacks
  • 2010 Northumbria Police manhunt
  • Adam Yahiye Gadahn
  • Adolf Eichmann
  • Albert Johnson
  • Aribert Heim
  • Barry Prudom
  • Beltway sniper attacks and search for John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo
  • Bojinka plot (Abdul Hakim Murad, Wali Khan Amin Shah)
  • Christopher Jordan Dorner
  • Henry Every
  • Jack Unterweger
  • John Dillinger
  • John Wilkes Booth
  • Josef Mengele
  • Joseph Palczynski
  • Malcolm Naden
  • Maurice Clemmons, see also Lakewood shootings
  • Robert Vesco
  • The Green River Killer
  • Zodiac Killer
  • Bombing suspects

  • 1993 World Trade Center bombing (Ramzi Yousef, Abdul Rahman Yasin)
  • Abu Ali al-Harithi
  • Boston Marathon bombings (Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev)
  • Centennial Olympic Park bombing (Eric Rudolph)
  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
  • Oklahoma City bombing (Terry Nichols)
  • Osama bin Laden
  • Pan Am Flight 73 (Zayd Hassan Abd Al-Latif Masud Al Safarini)
  • Pan Am Flight 103
  • Pan Am Flight 103 bombing investigation
  • Ted Kaczynski (Unabomber)
  • TWA Flight 847
  • Prison escapees

  • 2010 Arizona prison escape
  • 2015 Clinton Correctional Facility escape, in which two inmates, Richard Matt, 48- who had escaped before- and David Sweat, 35, both convicted of first-degree murder, escaped in an elaborate planned plot, using resources allegedly provided by a tailor shop prison employee, Joyce Mitchell, by drilling through their cell and into pipes leading to an external manhole outside the prison, near the Canada–US border. By June 29, 2015, they were both found and in custody.
  • Aafia Siddiqui
  • Ante Gotovina
  • Charles Victor Thompson
  • Clark Rockefeller
  • Clovis, New Mexico jail break
  • Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin, escapees of Alcatraz during 1962. Their fates remain unknown.
  • Goran Hadžić
  • Mas Selamat bin Kastari
  • Mecklenburg Correctional Center escapees from Death Row
  • Operation Crevice
  • Operation Kratos
  • Project Coronado targeted members of the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel. On October 22, 2009, U.S. federal authorities announced the results of a four-year investigation into the operations of La Familia Michoacana in the United States dubbed Project Coronado. It was the largest U.S. raid ever against Mexican drug cartels operating in the U.S. In more than 19 different states, 303 individuals were taken into custody in a coordinated effort by local, state, and federal law enforcement over a two-day period.
  • Radovan Karadžić
  • Ratko Mladić
  • Texas Seven
  • Famous fictional manhunts

  • The federal manhunt for George Foyet in the FBI crime drama Criminal Minds.
  • The manhunt for an assassin known as The Jackal in Frederick Forsyth's novel The Day of the Jackal.
  • The cross-country manhunt for the Fox River 8 in the second season of Prison Break.
  • The statewide manhunt for Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive.
  • The manhunt for Robert "Butch" Haynes (Kevin Costner) in Clint Eastwood's "A Perfect World" (1993).
  • The cross-country manhunt for Mark Schereden in U.S. Marshals.
  • The manhunt throughout California for Adrian Monk in the Monk episode "Mr. Monk Is On The Run."
  • The citywide manhunt for Henry Darius in the CSI: NY episode "Manhattan Manhunt."
  • The nationwide manhunt for Francis Dolarhyde in Manhunter (1986) and Red Dragon (2002).
  • The international manhunt for Dr. Hannibal Lector in both The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal.
  • The manhunt for escaped prisoner/wizard Sirius Black in the Harry Potter book Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • The cross-country manhunt for notorious methamphetamine producer Heisenberg in the penultimate episodes of Breaking Bad.
  • The citywide manhunt for undercover DEA agent turned vigilante Max Payne in the video game Max Payne.
  • The worldwide manhunt by several different agencies for fugitive Jason Bourne in the Bourne series of movies.
  • References

    Manhunt (law enforcement) Wikipedia