Crime - Sacto 911

FBI’s Most Wanted list has a birthday; Folsom fugitive still missing

Glen Stewart Godwin
Glen Stewart Godwin FBI

Murderer and Folsom State Prison escapee Glen Stewart Godwin for two decades has been on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, which celebrated its 66th anniversary on Monday.

The list was created after a reporter for the International News Service approached the FBI about writing a story about the “toughest guys.” The FBI supplied the 10 toughest, and the story was a big hit.

That major story led J. Edgar Hoover to create the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives program on March 14, 1950. Since then, the list of miscreants has included mobsters, child predators, cybercriminals, terrorists, white-collar criminals – and cold-blooded killers such as Godwin.

He remains at large, and no credible information has been received in quite some time about Godwin, said Gina Swankie, spokeswoman for the Sacramento FBI field office. Nothing indicates that Godwin is dead.

“The case is open and active,” said Swankie in an email. “We receive information about his possible whereabouts frequently and follow up on all information received. To date, none has proved credible.”

Swankie said Godwin is believed to be in Latin America. His wanted poster indicates that he could be involved in narcotics distribution.

Godwin’s list of escapes and crime are long and involved. In 1980 in Riverside County, Godwin stabbed a man 26 times, and he blew up the corpse with a mixture of fuel, oil, nitrogen fertilizer and dynamite.

In March 1981, he was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for murder. In January 1987, he was transferred to Folsom after an escape attempt from Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy.

On June 5, 1987, Godwin was assigned to garden in an older, less secure part of the prison. He was not supposed to have had that work and was supposed to have been housed in the “Maximum A” area, according to an account in The Sacramento Bee.

But Godwin, apparently, paid an inmate who had access to the institution’s filing system and his records were altered to allow him a less secure status.

Godwin slipped through a storm drain, followed tunnels to the American River in a route marked out for him by a since-convicted accomplice, rode a raft left for him across the river to a waiting car and disappeared.

He showed up a half year later in a Mexican prison in Puerto Vallarta on drugs and weapons charges. However, before he could be extradited, Godwin killed a fellow inmate and escaped from the Jalisco state penitentiary in September 1991.

Godwin was named to the FBI list in 1996. He remains the only local fugitive on the list of 10 most wanted.

Since then, while other Ten Most Wanted list alums such as terrorist Osama bin Laden and Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger have either been killed or arrested, Godwin has remained on the loose.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews