Could You Outlast a Manhunt?
Staying on the run...
A local news story has me asking two questions:
- How have the police not found this guy?
- How long can he last on the run?
On December 17, 24-year-old Raequon Mudd decided he had had enough of whatever. He received an eviction notice from the apartment he shared with his girlfriend. On his way out the door, he set the place on fire. Then he went over to his girlfriend's parents house and fired shots at the house. Not to let a good thing go to waste, he "borrowed" a friends car. He was spotted and the police gave chase and he wrecked the car at a busy intersection. Then he took off on foot and has been hiding out in an area that has million dollar mansions and old small brick homes nestled among each other.
It has been 4 days and he's been spotted several times. It has rained in the area since he became the prime subject of the police and sheriff's department and the temperature has dropped.
Now, I don't know anything about this person, other than what was stated about him in the news. I don't know if he has any sort of survival training or a network of friendly faces to go to. Frankly, wrecking his friend's car and trying to kill his girlfriend isn't going to keep allies, if he had them.
North Carolina is noted for having one of the most famous, in recent history, fugitives. Eric Rudolph, who was indicted for deadly bombings in Atlanta at the 1996 Olympics and in Birmingham in 1998, fled to the North Carolina mountains during his manhunt.
Rudolph had actually lived in the area that he ran to in the Nantahala National Forest.
The family lived off the grid, growing food and herbs and raising goats, ducks and chickens. They built a water system that did not require electricity.
Rudolph apparently had some survival skills and on January 30, 1998, he disappeared into the woods and wasn't caught until May 31, 2003, when a 21-year-old rookie of the Murphy Police Department named Jeffrey Postell caught a man dumpster diving behind the Save-a-Lot in the middle of the night.
Millions of dollars and countless man hours spent looking for Rudolph, only to be caught by a rookie just doing a regular check.
Now, I don't recommend doing a crime that will make you the subject of a manhunt, or any crime in general. And, I don't really think that most criminals are smart enough to plan a life of crime. I can't imaging Mudd was doing much thinking when he set fire to the apartment and then decided shooting up his girlfriend's house. Not a great idea.
In the movie The Fugitive, the person of interest is a doctor and very smart. So, he manages to be very resourceful in evading the U.S. Marshals. I don't think you need an advanced degree to be a good fugitive, but you at least need some basic skills.
These are the basic categories of survival. You won't be able to survive unless you can create a shelter, find a source of energy or have a source of food. And, there isn't much point in gathering food, if you can't cook it or you spend your days and nights shivering wet, which is why I put them in that order.
Shelter could be as easy as a tarp over a string, but if you are hiding from people, the best bet is to make it out of sticks. You can make a lean to in a variety of fashions, but it should be water proof and not look like an obvious structure. Probably a low to the ground setup covered by enough leaves to hide what it is. The leaves will actually provide warmth as well as protection from the rain. But, you will also have to deal with bugs, so make sure you find some fresh pine needles to throw in there. A lot of cities and suburbs have parks or wooded areas that might be a good place for creating your shelter. Trying to hide in a storage shed on someone's property is most likely going to get you caught.
Energy is what I consider the base for things like fire, electricity or gas. All of these can be used to cook a dinner or boil water. If you are getting water from a stream in or near a city, most likely that water is not clean. In fact, you'll be hard pressed to find any truly clean water anywhere. It is best not to risk it. The problem with campfires is that they have smoke. A "rocket stove" is a method of building a fire that sucks in air from the bottom, which creates a hotter flame and reduces smoke. These can be built of metal cans, clay or even a single piece of wood. They can also be very portable, in case you have to move your hideout.
Food is fuel for your body. What Rudolph knew still holds true today. Grocery stores and restaurants throw out tons of good food. In some cases, they are required by law to throw away things that could be given to homeless shelters. I personally haven't gone so low as to dive into a dumpster, but if I was going to do it, I would figure out the store's schedule first. When do they put out the food? When is the are clear of other people? Do they have cameras on the dumpster? When is the dumpster collected? I would also try to scope out several places and do a random or irregular rotation. Depending on how well your hideout is made, you could probably bring back more food than you can eat in a day or two, which would reduce your need to go near populated areas.
Finally, beyond basic survival, you'll need to change your look. Back in the day when people hung clothes out on a line, this would be easy. And, I'm guessing most cloth drop-off bins won't have adult sized clothes in them. It might require going to a different town or city, far away from where you started in order to spend a night at a shelter to get some new clothes. If you cleaned out your bank account before it was frozen, you could probably find a thrift store and pay cash.
Consider this a primer for starting out on the lamb. There are many other things to think about when trying to avoid the world. The best bet is not to be in that situation in the first place.
Let the positive energy sing!
More Power to the Minnows!!
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