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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fugitive arrested in Colorado after 32-years on the lam



Barrett youngBarrett oldAfter a 32-year man hunt that stretched from Florida to Hawaii, Florida officials today announced the capture of escaped Florida murderer Frederick Barrett in Montrose County, Southwestern Colorado.

Barrett, 60, scaled three perimeter fences and escaped from Union Correctional Institution in Raiford on August 17, 1979, during a nighttime power outage. It was his second escape since his conviction for the 1971 murder of Carl Ardolino, whom he killed while traveling on the Florida Turnpike. After strangling Ardolino from behind, Barrett and another companion, Michael Owensby, hit Ardolina in the head and then drown him in a ditch.

Colorado officials said Barrett has been living in Colorado for the last 17 years using the name of Neil Richard Meltzer. He was featured on America's Most Wanted, and was one of Florida's 12 most sought-after fugitives.

Officers with the U.S. Marshals cold case division dressed as U.S. Forest Service firefighters and asked Barrett early Wednesday if they could speak with him about fire safety. They then identified his tattoo of a cross on his right hand and captured him without incident. Police said a marijuana grow house was also found on his property as well as five firearms.

In addition to the U.S. Marshals Service, the case has been handled for several years by the Florida Department of Corrections and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Barrett is being held at the Montrose County Jail, in Montrose, Colorado, and faces extradition proceedings to Florida.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 6:20pm]


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