After 41 years on the run since escaping a New Jersey prison, George Wright, a most-wanted killer, has been caught in Portugal.
The FBI along with U.S. Marshals Service and the New Jersey Department of Corrections made a joint announcement of the apprehension of Wright, 68, on Tuesday.
They're now seeking Wright's extradition from Portugal, authorities say, so that he can serve out the remainder of his 30-year sentence, according to New Jersey's Star-Ledger.
Wright escaped from state prison in 1970, some seven years after he was convicted of murdering Walter Patterson, a gas station worker and decorated World War II veteran, in Wall, N.J.
The investigation into George Wright serves as an example of law enforcement strength and tenacity, Michael Ward, Special Agent In Charge of the FBI's Newark Division said in media reports on Tuesday. Even after 40 years, the commitment of law enforcement is unwavering and through the vast contributions of a multitude of people in New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Portugal, Wright was successfully taken into custody.
This case should also serve notice that the FBI's determination in pursuing subjects will not diminish over time or distance.
It was reported that on Nov. 23, 1962, Wright and others shot and killed Patterson during a robbery at the Collingwood Esso gas station. Police arrested Wright two days later and indicted him on charges in December of that year.
Wright entered a plea of no defense, according to the Star-Ledger, and was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison.
In August 1970, Wright and three others managed to escape from Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, N.J. Two years later, he helped hijack Delta flight 841 that was en route from Detroit to Miami. When the plane landed in Miami, the fugitives reportedly demanded $1 million in ransom in exchange for the passengers.
The media reported that agents were forced to wear bathing suits to hand over the suitcase of cash to Wright and the other hijackers on a Miami runway. This was because the hijackers wanted to be certain the agents weren't armed.
NBC New York reported that tower recordings captured their negotiations.
Follow my instructions to the letter or someone will get hurt, a hijacker said.
We will follow your instructions explicitly, was the reply. The money's being packed in suitcases right now.
The money comes on first before any passenger gets off, the hijacker said.
The men are putting on their bathing suits and going over with the money now, the tower responded.
When Wright and the others got the money, the passengers were let go, but the plane crew was held hostage and forced to fly to Boston to refuel before leaving for Algeria.
Some of the hijackers were caught years later in Paris, but Wright was never found until he recently began making contact with relatives in the U.S., according to NBC.
Investigators tracked him to Portugal, where he was arrested on Monday.