From our correspondent in Washington
He chased him for fifty years. I had to finish my job, he told al New York Times Daril Fifty, 72 years old, now retired policeman. It entered service in 1971, in Denver, Colorado. He was still a rookie when you cross paths Luis Archuleta, on October 2 of that year. The man was in a car with two women. Daril remembers that crucial moment with great clarity: He looked suspicious and so I went over to check. I asked for his papers and got him out of the car. I went to the trunk. But he pulled out a gun. I tried to block it, we began to fight. Then he disappeared and hit me in the stomach.
Archuleta was already a convict: convictions for burglary and drug possession. He was atjust escaped from a Californian prison, with a ruse like Escape from Alcatraz: he had deceived the agents, modeling a human shape in the bed, with blankets and pillows.
It won’t be the only time. After the Denver shooting, the FBI goes after him. They find him in Mexico, involved in drug traffickingthe. In 1973 the court sentenced him to 14 years in prison for assaulting a public official. It seems over: Agent Fifty has obtained justice.
But after 17 months Archuleta escapes from the Pueblo hospital in Colorado, with the complicity of four other inmates. It looked like a Hollywood movie, says Fifty.
The hunt resumes, to no avail. Luis Archuleta dissolves. Meanwhile, Daril has some troubles too. In 1989 the Denver Police Department suspended him from service after the newspaper The Denver Post he had published an article on the quick methods used by the Fifty to frame suspects. The policeman has always denied having acted in bad faith, but at one point he pleaded guilty to two charges, just to close the affair. He also found a way to explain his version in a book titolato The Blue Chameleon: the life story of a Supercop, il Blue chameleon (the color of the uniform ed): the life of a super policeman.
In the early 1990s, Daril leaves the police and opens a private investigation agency. His fixed thought is still and always Archuleta. He gets back on the road, rummages through the criminal undergrowth of Denver, throughout Colorado, reactivates ancient contacts. A track leads to San Jose, California. But a false alarm. The case becomes national: the show America’s Most Wanted, hosted by lawyer John Walsh on Fox.
It goes on like this for years, decades. Until the morning of June 24, 2020. Fifty receives an anonymous phone call: the man you are looking for has changed his name, that’s why you can’t find him; now his name is Ramon Montoya. The informant goes into detail and, above all, suggests where to look: Espaola, a small town in New Mexico, about 40 kilometers north of Santa Fe.
time has come. Daril addresses the local police and also alerts the FBI. Research is resumed, indeed now they are archaeological excavations. It turns out that a certain Ramon Montoya was arrested in 2011 for driving drunk. Investigators track down Archuleta’s ex-wife and her son, Mario Montoya. A surprise for them too. Mario says that his father had confessed to him that he was wanted by the law, but had hidden his true identity, always presenting himself as Larry Pusateri.
It turns out that Archuleta-Montoya-Pusateri lived for over forty years in a small house in Espaola, with a woman. An almost unnoticed presence for its neighbors.
On August 5th, federal agents knock on his door. An elderly man, 77 years old, opens. But still indebted to the law, as established by the court ordering his transfer to a Colorado penitentiary.
Daril Fifty can finally pull the line: He shot me, it was dangerous and he could go wherever he wanted. was long, but it was worth it.
August 10, 2020 (change August 10, 2020 | 22:20)
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