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NorCal Fugitive Captured After 36 Years On The Run

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS13) – They finally got their man. After 36 years on the run, a convicted felon who escaped from custody in El Dorado County back in 1975 has been arrested. And it was a death-bed call from his mother that eventually led to his capture.

FBI, Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies and a state parole agent arrested 66-year-old William Walter Asher on Friday at his home in Salida, where he had been living under the name Garry Donald Webb.

Asher took part in the robbery of a San Francisco bar back in 1966 when he was just 20 years old. The bartender was shot and then beaten to death. Asher was captured in Chicago and then tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

However, in 1975, with the help of a female accomplice from the outside, Asher escaped from California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation – Growlersburg Conservation Camp #33 located outside Georgetown in El Dorado County.

During his years on the run, the FBI tracked him to Canada and Alaska where agents later learned he had assumed the name David Donald Mcfee, raised a family and worked as a long haul trucker.

He eventually split from his wife, but she was unable to give the FBI any information on his whereabouts.

The FBI says it recently got the break it needed when it learned Asher’s mother, Mabel Welch, called her son from her death bed back in 2005 using a “secret” number with the help of various family members.

After checking phone records, the FBI pinpointed two calls made to a home in Salida where a Garry Donald Webb lived. Investigators then compared Webb’s California driver’s license photo and fingerprint with Asher’s and got a match.

On Friday, agents approached Asher as he left the Salida home and he eventually admitted his true identity.

Asher has been booked into the Deuel Vocational Instituted in Tracy.

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