ⓘ Manhunt (law enforcement)

Manhunt (law enforcement)

ⓘ 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
  • The death of the suspect within the area of the manhunt.
  • The search being called off, if police determine the chances of catching the suspect are minimal
  • Escape from the area by the suspect, followed by plans by other law enforcement agencies to search for the suspect elsewhere

Also, if the fugitive resists using deadly force with the law enforcement officers, they are typically authorized to respond in kind.


1. Fugitive manhunt agencies and organizations

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

2. 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.


3. Notable manhunts

  • Malcolm Naden
  • Jack Unterweger
  • Bojinka plot Abdul Hakim Murad, Wali Khan Amin Shah
  • John Dillinger
  • Bonnie and Clyde
  • Christopher Jordan Dorner
  • 2001 anthrax attacks
  • Maurice Clemmons, see also Lakewood shootings
  • Josef Mengele
  • 1876 Northfield Minnesota bank robbery
  • Adam Yahiye Gadahn
  • Adolf Eichmann
  • Beltway sniper attacks and search for John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo
  • 2010 Northumbria Police manhunt
  • 2019 Northern British Columbia murders
  • 1982 Chicago Tylenol murders
  • 1993 shootings at CIA Headquarters
  • Albert Johnson
  • Henry Every
  • Aribert Heim
  • Robert Vesco
  • The Green River Killer
  • Joseph Palczynski
  • Zodiac Killer
  • John Wilkes Booth

3.1. Notable manhunts Bombing suspects

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

3.2. Notable manhunts Prison escapees

  • 2010 Arizona prison escape
  • Ante Gotovina
  • Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin, escapees of Alcatraz during 1962. Their fates remain unknown.
  • Aafia Siddiqui
  • Clark Rockefeller
  • Ratko Mladic
  • Operation Kratos
  • 2015 Clinton Correctional Facility escape
  • Mas Selamat bin Kastari
  • Project Coronado - a four year manhunt which targeted members of the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel.
  • Charles Victor Thompson
  • Texas Seven
  • Radovan Karadzic
  • El Chapo
  • Goran Hadzic
  • Mecklenburg Correctional Center escapees from Death Row
  • Operation Crevice
  • Clovis, New Mexico jail break

4. Famous fictional manhunts

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

  • activities Extrajudicial killing Hague Initiative for Law and Armed Conflict Justifiable homicide Manhunt military Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions Targeted
  • agent of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration DEA who, along with Javier Peña, was one of the lead investigators in the manhunt of Colombian drug lord
  • United Kingdom, Israel, Switzerland and Germany for both military and law enforcement purposes. Melzer argues that directly after the September 11 attacks
  • Gordon Kahl, a tax protester who was killed in a shootout with local law enforcement officials in Smithville, Arkansas in 1983. The documentary focuses
  • was shot to death by police on 14 March 2008, following a manhunt in which two law enforcement agents were injured. According to Russian authorities Bichkov
  • he was found dead later that day, a manhunt was launched for these three men, involving some 400 law enforcement officers on foot, vehicles and horseback
  • soldier. The police manhunt initially involving nearly 200 officers by September 17, grew to nearly 1, 000 on September 24. Law enforcement officers included

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