The tipster who reportedly got $2 million in reward money for handing over information that led to the location of Boston crime boss James Whitey Bulger was apparently a former Miss Iceland, Anna Bjornsdottir, according to a report.
Bjornsdottir had reportedly been living in both Iceland and Santa Monica, where Bulger, 82, was living with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, 60.
The Boston Globe reported Sunday that Bulger and Greig bonded over a stray cat, and that Bulger was a grumpy old man, hunkered down in a Santa Monica flat with his girlfriend.
Neighbors liked them, but no one got close -- or rather, almost no one. And that was their undoing, reported the Globe.
Bjornsdottir, the former Miss Iceland who was crowned in 1974, reportedly identified Bulger to authorities after seeing FBI information that spotlighted Greig, Bulger's girlfriend. In September, the FBI said it had paid $2.1 million to more than one individiual for information, or tips, that led to the arrests of Bulger and Greig. The FBI did not provide the identity of the tipsters, however.
On Sunday, the Boston Globe pinpointed the former Miss Iceland as the one who tipped off authorities. Bjornsdottir is said to be a 57-year-old yoga instructor and graphic designer. She is said to have moved to the Los Angeles area in the late 1970s, and she appeared in cosmetics commercials.
Bulger, a former leader of the notorious crime Winter Hill Gang, was a fugitive for more than 16 years until he and Greig were arrested last month. Bulger pleaded not guilty on charges related to 19 murders at arraignment, while Greig pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to harbor and conceal a fugitive.
There's some concern that the leak of the former Miss Iceland as the one who turned Bulger in to authorities could put her at risk. The Boston Herald reported in a subsequent story about the Globe piece that a former prosecutor said Bjornsdottir's safety can't be guaranteed.
They can't guarantee her 100 percent safety going forward, former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan told the Herld. It's unnecessary publicity and unnecessary harassment.
In its story on Sunday, the Globe, in an extensive article written by Shelley Murphy and Maria Cramer, said it had pieced together Bulger's life in hiding with his girlfriend, leading up to the tip to the FBI that resulted in their arrests. The Globe said through dozens of interviews with people who knew Bulger in Santa Monica and Boston as well as visits to Iceland and the couple's California home, the Globe has drawn the first comprehensive picture of how Bulger lived on the lam all these years -- and why he ultimately was caught.
At one time, Bulger was suspected of gallivanting through Europe, but it turned out he was holed up in the same rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica for more than a dozen years, staying up late into the night watching television with the curtains drawn.
The FBI, upon arresting Bulger, reportedly recovered 15 different aliases in the apartment, and a book on how to forge identification papers.