America's Most Wanted

America's Most Wanted

(Fox, 1988-2011; Lifetime, 2011-'12; Fox, 2021-present)

This venerable cops 'n' robbers show focused on Rhode Island a number of times. The first that we're aware of was a 1997 show on the apprehension of alleged killer Anthony Fitzroy Patterson. Patterson was mistakenly identified by a Most Wanted viewer as another alleged murderer, Dudley Forbes. When police attempted to question him, he fled in a car, injuring twelve people in a frantic ride through downtown Providence. AMW film crews recreated the chase on location a short time later, for an episode that aired on November 22, 1997. As the Providence Phoenix's Philippe and Jorge noted, "...some might find it odd that, after scaring hordes of downtown regulars out of their gourds, the whole fiasco was recreated again for television. But hey, if we want to be in the big leagues, this is the kind of stuff we gotta do."

The next intersection of the worlds of AMW and Rhode Island was when two fugitives, Tracey Lee Poirier and Pamela Kay Trimble, were arrested in Cranston and Providence on September 28, 1998. Convicted murderer Poirier had escaped from the Oregon Women's Correctional Center in Salem, Oregon, with the assistance of Trimble, a former guard at that facility. After the August 28, 1998, escape was featured on AMW, a tip led the FBI to Rhode Island. Poirer was apprehended by Providence detectives at Crugnale Bakery and Pizza in Cranston, where she had been hired (through an employment agency) as a temporary employee, and Trimble was picked up at a sausage shop called Baun Sou Nam, located on Sutton Street in Providence. A followup story on the capture was told on the October 10, 1998, show.

In early May 2005 AMW spent three days in Newport collecting footage for a segment on convicted rapist and fugitive Ronald Fischer. A Newport Superior Court jury convicted Fischer, a former East Greenwich anesthesiologist, in absentia on April 28, 2005, on two counts of first-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree sexual assault, for the rape of a Westerly woman aboard his yacht, The Lion King, at Portsmouth's Hinckley Marina in April 2003. Possibly sensing which way his trial was heading, Fischer fled Rhode Island just days prior to the verdict. The segment aired on May 14, 2005, but despite an estimated audience of ten million viewers, there have been few leads, and Fischer is still at large as of July 2021.

A brief segment aired on August 6, 2006, trolling for information on the whereabouts of two men wanted for the murder of 24-year-old Pawtucket resident, Jessica C. Imran, and attempted murder of her friend, 28-year-old Julie Lange, in Imran's Lawn Avenue apartment July 27th. Suspects Barry Offley, 19, of Woonsocket, and Alonzo P. Shelton, 28, of Central Falls, were subsequently captured in a housing project in Ocala, Florida, September 7, 2006.

The August 26, 2006, show profiled alleged child-molester James W. Bell. He's accused of inappropriate actions with three girls, aged nine to thirteen, while employed at the Newport County YMCA in Middletown between 2000 and 2003. He was arrested in Washington state in August 2003, brought back to Rhode Island, and then released on bail in October. A new order for his arrest was issued when he failed to appear at a pretrial conference in Newport Superior Court on July 15, 2004. In April 2015 he was captured again in Washington, where he was held pending extradition back to Little Rhody.

Jonathan Quaweay's alleged crimes were profiled on the June 13, 2009, broadcast. Quaweay disappeared after allegedly shooting three people at the Sportsman's Inn and Gentleman's Club in Providence on March 24. After the story aired a viewer tip led U.S. Marshals to the Atlanta, Georgia, apartment where Quaweay was hiding out. Arrested, he was taken to the Fulton County Jail to await extradition back to Rhode Island.

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