Anna Bjornsdottir, a former Miss Iceland 1974, has been publicly named as the tipster who led to arrest of fugitive James Whitey Bulger. She has received a $2 million reward for turning in the notorious gangster.
For more than 16 years Bulger, 82, managed to evade FBI agents until he and his girlfriend were arrested in June. He is now facing charges for his alleged role in 19 murders that took place in Boston the 1970s and 1980s. It is reported that Bulger fled Boston toward the end of 1994 when a corrupt FBI agent tipped him off that authorities were looking to indict him.
His girlfriend Catherine Greig, 60, joined him in hiding and they moved to Santa Monica, Calif., in 1998, and settled under the aliases Charlie and Carol Gasko.
The Boston Globe on Sunday wrote that at least a twice a day, Carol Gasko would squat on the sidewalk in front of her Santa Monica apartment building and fed an abandoned, tiger-striped cat while Charlie stood guard.
Their dedication to the animal caught the eye of Bjornsdottir, now a 57-year-old yoga instructor, who lived in the neighborhood for months at a time and sometimes shared a chat.
Neighbors told the Globe that the Gaskos were friendly, but private retirees. Greig would even send thank you notes often to a kind neighbor. She also made up a lie that her husband had Alzheimer's so as to distract people from asking questions.
Nobody had any inkling that the Bulger and Greig had 30 weapons stashed and some $822,000 in cash inside the walls of their apartment.
But on June 20, the FBI revived the cold case and its upped its campaign to find Bulger and Greig. The bureau aired 30-second television spots in some 14 cities that included San Francisco and San Diego.
They didn't air one in Los Angeles.
But CNN covered the manhunt and Bjornsdottir was at home in Iceland when she saw the report. Bjornsdottir saw her former neighbors the Gaskos and immediately recognized.
The FBI in September said it paid out $2.1 million to more than one individual for information that led to the couple's arrest.
The Globe reported that $2 million of the reward money went to Bjornsdottir.
On Monday a former US Attorney Michael Sullivan told The Boston Herald that publicly naming Bjornsdottir as the one who led to Bulger's arrest could possibly put her in danger and could have a chilling effect on other potential informants, according to the New York Post.
They can't guarantee her one hundred percent safety going forward, Sullivan said. It's unnecessary publicity and unnecessary harassment.
Laura is a U.S. politics reporter for the International Business Times. She was always fascinated by the BBC World News each morning on the radio in Jamaica. That, and a love...