The FBI‘s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list has long served as a fixture of the United States justice system, instilling fear in Americans for decades.
However, since its inception in 1950, the list – reserved for the nation’s worst criminals – has only contained a handful of women, with just 11 of its 529 fugitives being female.
This past summer, 42-year-old Ruja Ignatova became the latest women to grace the list, after feds said the self-professed ‘crypto queen’ scammed investors out of more than $4billion, with a Ponzi scheme though her now-defunct company, OneCoin.
Vanishing into thin air in 2017, the Bulgarian-born fraudster is still-at large, with officials now offering $100,000 for information on her whereabouts. She joined 10 others whose crimes have earned them the dubious distinction.
Ruja Ignatova – self-professed ‘crypto-queen’
Ruja Ignatova allegedly scammed investors around the world to collect $4 billion for her OneCoin cryptocurrency, which was a pyramid scheme
Still at-large, the Bulgarian-born fugitive is just the 11th women to make the list in its history, wanted for fraud with a reward set at $100,000. It is believed she may have had surgery or altered her appearance in some way since disappearing in 2017
The FBI added Dr. Ruja Ignatova, the ‘Cryptoqueen’ to its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in June after she allegedly defrauded investors with her $4 billion cryptocurrency pyramid scheme.
Ignatova, 42, who the Department of Justice said used her OneCoin cryptocurrency as a multi-level marketing scam to target investors worldwide between 2014 and 2018, is now wanted for $100,000.
Investigators believe Ignatova was tipped off in 2017 after a U.S. District Court in New York issued a warrant for her arrest, leading the alleged scammer to travel to Greece and disappear.
Special Agent Ronald Shimko, who is investigating the case out of the FBI’s New York Field Office, said he hopes the publicity of being on the most wanted list will help track down Ignatova.
‘There are so many victims all over the world who were financially devastated by this,’ Shimko said. ‘We want to bring her to justice.’
The other 10 are as follows:
Shanika S. Minor – arrested in 2016
Prior to Ignatova – who is believed to have altered her appearance in some way since her disappearance – the most recent woman to make the Most Wanted list was Shanika Mino, a Wisconsin woman who in 2016 stood accused of killing a neighbor and her unborn baby
Prior to Ignatova – who is believed to have altered her appearance in some way since her disappearance – the most recent woman to make the Most Wanted list was Shanika Mino, a Wisconsin woman who in 2016 stood accused of killing a former high school classmate and her unborn baby.
According to police, she was at her mother’s home on the evening of March 6, 2016, when she got in an argument with a nine-months pregnant Tamecca Perry, a neighbor and former classmate.
Federal officials said the altercation stemmed over Perry’s playing of music, which 24-year-old Minor felt had been too loud, and ‘disrespected’ her family.
Minor shot 23-year-old Tamecca Perry (pictured) in March 2016 following an argument over loud music
Minor would go on to instigate two confrontations with the neighbor, at first threatening Perry, 23, with a gun and challenging her to a fight.
Early the next morning, Minor would again return to Perry’s home, this time coming to the back entrance. Both altercations saw Minor’s mom try to intervene.
During the second scuffle, the mother proved unsuccessful in her efforts – with Minor reaching over her shoulder and shooting Perry, who was five days away from her due date. The murder transpired in front of the mom’s two other children.
Minor proceeded to go on the run for nearly four months, but was only added to the Most Wanted list on June 28, 2016.
In a testament to the proficiency of the FBI program, the fugitive was apprehended at a motel in Fayetteville, North Carolina, just three days later.
She would later plead guilty to one count of first degree reckless homicide, and one count of first degree reckless homicide of a child – earning her 30 years in prison.
Brenda Delgado – also apprehended in 2016
Brenda Delgado fled to Mexico when she learned she was wanted in connection with the murder of her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend
Just two months before Minor made the list, another woman, Mexican citizen Brenda Delgado, managed to garner a spot – following a sordid love triangle that saw her plot to murder her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend and then flee to Mexico.
According to the FBI, Delgado, a 34-year-old dental hygiene student, was reportedly enraged to the point of murder when she found that her ex-boyfriend began the relationship with the woman, a prominent local pediatric surgeon.
Delgado’s boyfriend had been dating 35-year-old pediatric dentist Kendra Hatcher (pictured). She was shot and killed in the parking lot of her upscale Dallas apartment
Delgado had been dating Ricardo Paniagua, a dermatologist, for two years before he started started seeing the pediatric dentist, 35-year-old Kendra Hatcher.
Investigators said that after learning that the new couple had flown to San Francisco to meet Paniagua’s parents in September 2015, a jealous Delgado allegedly hired a hit man to shoot Hatcher in the parking deck of her upscale Dallas apartment complex.
The jilted woman promised the hit man drugs and money in exchange for the deed, feds said at the time.
She also offered two co-conspirators similar bribes, including 21-year-old dental assistant Crystal Cortes, who told police that she was paid $500 to drive the getaway car after Love attacked Hatcher.
Kendra Hatcher (left) started dating Ricardo Paniagua (right) after he broke up with Brenda Delgado
After the murder, police immediately questioned Delgado, after her Jeep Cherokee was caught on camera fleeing the scene.
According to the FBI, immediately after the interview, Delgado fled to Mexico, where she successfully hid for six months before being placed on the Most Wanted List in April 2016.
Again, the distinction saw officials almost immediately hone in on her location, with Delgado arrested in Northern Mexico just two days later, where she spent five months in a Mexican prison.
In the case Kristopher Love (left) was found guilty of capital murder in October 2018 for shooting Kendra Hatcher and sentenced to death. Crystal Cortes (right) was also convicted for driving the getaway car and was sentenced to 35 years in prison
She was then extradited to the United States that October, on the condition that she would not receive the death penalty.
Prosecutors filed a motion to argue for the death penalty anyway, though the effort proved unsuccessful. In October 2021, Delgado was found guilty of capital murder for orchestrating the plot, and is currently in the midst of a life sentence.
Shauntay L. Henderson – arrested in one day
Shauntay L Henderson was listed for a record-breaking singular day on March 31, 2007. The 29-year-old was once a leading member in Kansas City, Missouri’s 12th Street Gang
Before Delgado’s arrest, it had been nearly a decade since a woman earned a spot on the FBI list – with a then-29-year-old Shauntay L Henderson earning the distinction in March 31, 2007.
In perhaps the most pronounced proof of the list’s effectiveness, she was nabbed by feds later that day.
Henderson was listed for a record-breaking singular day on March 31, 2007. The 29-year-old was once a leading member in Kansas City, Missouri’s 12th Street Gang.
In September of 2006, she shot 21-year-old Deandre Parker while he was in his truck at a gas station with his girlfriend. When she learned police suspected her of the crime, she went underground.
Cops said Henderson was the leader of a violent street gang in Kansas City. Henderson, who denied the allegation, was later convicted of manslaughter in the shooting and killing of a man
During a brief reemergence, she allegedly ordered the revenge killings of other gang members who testified against her mentor, kingpin Steve Wright.
Eventually Henderson was arrested and plead guilty to manslaughter. She was given probation for the manslaughter charge, but served three years in prison for gun possession in the case.
Judge Robert Schieber was the official who ordered probation for her manslaughter charge, stating that he gave her ‘every benefit of the doubt.’
This proved to be a decision he would regret.
She was released from prison in 2010, and five months later, found herself in Schieber’s courtroom again. After being arrested at a traffic stop with a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun, she pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a firearm and was ordered to serve ten years in prison.
Judge Schieber requested that the ten-year sentence be served consecutively with the federal punishment of an additional seven years and three months – which was tacked on for being a felon possessing a firearm.
She remains in custody, finishing out her 17-year federal sentence in 2019, before beginning a concurrent 10 year sentence at Women’s Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Vandalia, Missouri.
Donna Jean Willmott – turned self in in 1994
Donne Jean Willmott, the seventh woman on the FBI Ten Most Wanted list, was also associated with the Weather Underground
The Weather Underground group reared its head again in 1985 in the form of Donna Jean Willmott and her partner in crime Claude Daniel Marks, who went into hiding after their plan to blow up a maximum security prison was revealed.
The two planned a large explosion at a prison in Kansas in an effort to free Oscar Lopez, the imprisoned leader of the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional, a group dedicated to political independence in Puerto Rico.
Their plot was uncovered when Willmott’s partner Marks bought 37 pounds of explosives from an undercover agent. After the two fled to Los Angeles, they found monitoring devices the FBI had placed in the car.
They decided they had to disappear – and they did. Both were added to the Most Wanted list in May of 1987.
With their respective spouses and children, the two families relocated to Pittsburgh where they settled in the small neighborhood of Squirrel Hill under different names.
Willmott became Jo Elliott, and her husband Robert McBride assumed the name Tim Anderson. Among friends, they were known as loving parents to their daughter Zoe. Willmott was a staple of the community and frequently volunteered with AIDS-infected children.
Claude Daniel Marks became Greg Peters, husband and father of two, who drew crowds to the little league baseball games he coached. He also volunteered for a literacy project for inner-city children, and grew tomatoes in his home garden which he donated to a nearby home for the mentally disabled.
Like many of the other fugitives on the Most Wanted List, the pressure of living a second life became too great. Both decided to turn themselves in to FBI agents in Chicago in 1994, after a year of negotiation and nearly a decade on the run.
Following their arrest, the two said: ‘First challenged to activism by the movements of the Sixties, both of us have spent all our adult lives working to change the injustices that are a part of the very fabric of society,’ according to the LA Times.
Willmott was given a five year sentence, and Marks was sentenced to ten due to his greater role in the bombing and escape plot.
Katherine Ann Power & Susan Edith Saxe – roommates who evaded the law for years
College roommates Katherine Ann Power and Susan Edith Saxe became the first female pair to find themselves wanted by the FBI, after plotting an armed bank robbery that left a cop dead
College roommates Katherine Ann Power and Susan Edith Saxe became the first female pair to find themselves wanted by the FBI, after plotting an armed bank robbery that left a police officer dead 15 years prior to Willmott’s arrest.
The two women collaborated with three assailants to rob the State Street Bank and Trust in Boston in September 1970, which went awry and ended with the fatal shooting of a police officer.
While heavily armed, the group stormed the bank and made off with $26,000. They planned to use the money to purchase weapons for the Black Panthers, and to buy explosives to melt down wheels of trains carrying military weapons.
The first officer to respond to the heist, father-of-nine and former WWII vet Walter A Schroeder, was shot in the back by one of Power and Saxe’s male associates.
Saxe was captured by Philadelphia police in March 1975 after three years on the run. She was recognized by a police officer and her identity was confirmed with fingerprints, because she was living under an assumed name
Power was said to have driven the getaway car, and she and Saxe escaped. The three men they committed the burglary with were hastily arrested. On October 17, 1970, both women were listed as top ten Most Wanted fugitives.
Power and Saxe survived several years together on the run by being housed with radical members of the women’s movement. Both changed their names and tried to move on with new lives.
Saxe, however, was captured by Philadelphia police in March 1975. She was recognized by a passing police officer and her identity was confirmed by fingerprints. At the time she went by the name Ailene A. Hellman. She pleaded guilty to charges of robbery and manslaughter and received a 10 to 12 year prison term.
Power, however, managed to elude authorities for 23 years. She was removed from the FBI’s Most Wanted in June 1984 despite the fact that she hadn’t been captured and holds the record for the longest-listed woman on the list. When the stress of living a life undercover became too much, she turned herself in to police
Power, however, proved to be much more elusive, evading authorities for 23 years. She was removed from the FBI’s Most Wanted in June 1984, despite the fact that she had not been captured. She holds the record for the longest-listed woman on the list.
In rural Oregon, Power was able to create an entirely new life as Alice L. Metzinger. She became a teacher at a local community college, married her boyfriend of 13 years Ron Duncan, had a child and opened a restaurant.
This image captures the moment Power heard the sentence for her crime – 12 years. She served five and returned to Oregon where she created a new life after the robbery
Eventually she decided to see a therapist after suffering from depression, and came to the realization that she could no longer live under the stress of hiding her past.
She threw a going away party for herself, well-attended by friends and the new family she created, and flew back to Boston. She turned herself in to police in 1993 after more than two decades in hiding – reunited with parents and siblings she had not spoken with since the fateful day of the bank robbery.
During the trial, she expressed regret over the slaying of Officer Schroeder. She said: ‘His death was shocking to me, and I have had to examine my conscience and accept any responsibility I have for events that led to it.’
She continued: ‘At that time the law was being broken everywhere.
‘Although at the time those actions seemed the correct course, they were in fact naive and unthinking.’
She was sentenced to 12 years in prison and served five. When released, she returned to her husband and son in Oregon, and later wrote several books about her life.
Bernardine Dohrn – terrorist-turned-professor
The fourth-ever woman added to the list, Wisconsin native Bernadine Rae Dohrn, was also an active member of the radical revolutionary group ‘Weather Underground’
The fourth-ever woman added to the list, Wisconsin native Bernadine Rae Dohrn, was also an active member of the radical revolutionary group ‘Weather Underground’ – which aimed to promote communism in the United States and bombed several government buildings.
Weather Underground was comprised of extremist young people who came out of the fragmented Students for a Democratic Society. They vehemently opposed the Vietnam War and allied themselves with the Black Liberation Army and Black Panther Party.
Dohrn, a University of Chicago Law School graduate, was a leader among Weather Underground. The group was responsible for the bombings of the US Capitol, the Pentagon, and many police stations in New York City.
They also organized the jailbreak of Dr Timothy Leary, a leader in the psychiatric community who advocated for the use of psychedelic drugs in therapy.
Dohrn was placed on the FBI Most Wanted list for three years from 1970 to 1973, during which time a bomb the group was building accidentally exploded in a Greenwich Village townhouse in New York City, killing three members of Weather Underground.
Her involvement with the radical group led her to travel to Yugoslavia, North Vietnam, Budapest, and Cuba to meet with representatives and discuss Weatherman’s mission.
In May 1970, she was instrumental in the publication of the Weather Underground’s ‘Declaration of a State War’ – which formally waged a war on the US government.
Dohrn transcribed the manifesto and recorded a reading of it which she sent to The New York Times. She co-wrote the document with Bill Ayers, the creator of Weather Underground; the pair later married and had two sons.
She was taken off the list in 1973 after a case against Weather Underground was dismissed when a judge ordered the federal government to provide proof that they had not used illegal methods to obtain information about the radical group. This stemmed from a suspicious fire that led investigators to a number of Weatherman members.
Although she initially avoided jail time, Dohrn later turned herself in, and pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and bail jumping. She spent less than a year in jail before being released.
Despite her criminal history, she went on to work as the director of the Children and Family Justice Center at the Northwestern University School of Law.
Angela Yvonne Davis – activist-turned-author
Former Black Panther Angela Davis is now a revered author and professor – but briefly in the 1970s she was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List for her part in the death of a judge. She was later found not guilty
Perhaps the most famous of the women to make the list is Angela Y Davis, now 79 and a renowned author and professor.
She was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list in August 1970 when two guns purchased in her name were used in a hostage situation in a California courtroom that left a judge dead.
Davis was a member of the Black Panther Party at the time – a controversial group dedicated to protecting, and eventually arming, African-American citizens.
She became the target of a federal manhunt after the connection was made between her and the courtroom shootout – and she quickly went into hiding. On August 18, 1970, she became the third woman on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
The guns Davis purchased were given to Jonathan Jackson, a member of the Soledad Brothers Defense Committee, which was advocating for the release of three African-American men from a California prison – who came to be known as the Soledad Brothers.
While the Brothers appeared in court in Marin County, Jackson, who was related to one of the men, staged a hostage situation and attempted to negotiate their release.
The standoff ended in a police shootout that left Jackson dead, as well as two of the Soledad brothers, and the judge who was taken hostage – 65-year-old Harold J Haley.
The 26-year-old Davis had previously been fired from her position as an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of California at Los Angeles. Her former colleagues said they had not heard from her since.
In October 1970, she was arrested alongside communist leader David Poindexter Jr at the Howard Johnson Motor Lodge in midtown Manhattan. Then-president Richard Nixon referred to her as a ‘dangerous terrorist’ and congratulated the FBI on her capture.
When her case went to trial in 1972, she faced her charges of conspiracy, murder, and kidnapping. After a 13-hour deliberation, an all-white jury found her not guilty on all three charges – prompting Davis and her many supporters in the court room to burst into screams and tears of happiness.
Unlike many of the other women on the Most Wanted List, Davis went on to become a well-known and generally respected figure in the public eye.
She continued to be a controversial activist throughout the late 20th century, and even ran twice for president on the ticket of the Communist Party USA.
Retired now, she spent many years teaching at the University of California Santa Cruz, and served as the director of their Feminist Studies department. She has written several books, including an autobiography of her life.
Marie Dean Arrington – escaped prison
Marie Dean Arrington lived a life of violent crime, and landed herself on the Most Wanted List in 1969 after shooting a public defender’s secretary and running her over with her own car
Marie Dean Arrington lived a life of violent crime, and landed herself on the Most Wanted List in 1969 after repeatedly shooting a public defender’s secretary and running her over with her own car.
Florida lawyer Bob Pierce had unsuccessfully defended Arrington’s son and daughter, who were sentenced to jail time for armed robbery, fraud and forgery. Arrington’s son Lloyd was given a life sentence for his crimes.
In April of 1968, an enraged Arrington went to Pierce’s law office in Leesburg, just outside of Orlando. Because he wasn’t there, Arrington kidnapped his secretary, 37-year-old Vivian ‘June’ Ritter.
June’s body was nearly unrecognizable when it was discovered three days later.
Authorities later learned that June’s murder had been part of Arrington’s plot to seek revenge for her son’s imprisonment. Investigators discovered Arrington’s fingerprint at the scene of a burglary at the home of Judge Troy Hall, who handed down Lloyd’s life sentence. They also discovered a note in Arrington’s coat pocket threatening to kill Hall’s wife.
At the time of the murder, Arrington was out on bail for sentencing after being convicted in the manslaughter of her husband.
Years after being convicted for June’s murder, long-time Florida state attorney Gordon Oldham Jr described her as a ‘mad-dog killer who has the cunning of a wild animal,’ according to the Orlando Sentinel.
She was placed in the Lowell Correctional Institution Annex in Marion County, Florida – but not for long.
In March of 1969, she squeezed through the window of her cell, hopped two wire fences in her pajamas, and fled to New Orleans where she picked up a new life working as a waitress.
She evaded capture for two years, during which time she was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
When she was finally arrested in 1971, she was placed back in Lowell Correctional Institution.
Arrington was originally given the death penalty for her crimes, but escaped her sentence when the law was found to be unconstitutional the following year.
Instead, she was committed to life in prison at the same facility she escaped from, where she continued her criminal reputation by inciting riots, lying to prison staff, and conducting violence.
At the time of her death in 2014, the 80-year-old had racked up 61 criminal violations throughout her life. She passed away from heart problems, and her son remains in prison.
Ruth Eisemann-Schier – FBI’s inaugural female
Ruth Eisemann-Schier became the first-ever woman to land on the FBI’s most wanted list in December 1968, after she kidnapped a millionaire’s daughter and buried her alive in Atlanta
Ruth Eisemann-Schier became the first-ever woman to land on the FBI’s most wanted list in December 1968, after she kidnapped a millionaire’s daughter and buried her alive in woods in Atlanta on December 17 of that year.
She and Gary Steven Krist snatched Barbara Jean Mackle, an Emory University student and daughter of a Florida land developer who was close to president-elect Richard Nixon, at gunpoint, smothering her with chloroform and injecting her with a sedative.
They drove her to Berkeley Lake, about 30 miles north of Atlanta, where they buried her in a make-shift coffin under 2 feet of clay, keeping her alive with an air pump, food, water laced with sedatives and a battery-powered lamp inside the box, while they waited for her father to pay a $500,000 ransom.
Robert Mackle paid up and the kidnappers gave vague directions to their victim’s burial spot. Police, who spread through the area and dug with their hands, found Barbara Jean alive 83 hours after her abduction.
Eismann-Schier then fled with somewhat greater success than her partner, who was captured within 24 hours of Mackle’s rescue off the coast of south Florida on a speedboat he purchased with the ransom money.
On December 28, 1968, she became the first woman to be named one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted. She was captured on March 5, 1969, two months after being indicted for kidnapping, when she applied for a nursing job and her fingerprints were flagged. She had been living in Oklahoma under the name of Donna Sue Wills.
Two months later, she pleaded guilty to the charges against her. She served three of the seven-year prison sentence she received and was then deported to her home country of Honduras.
Krist, who had also been listed as a special addition to the Most Wanted List, was granted parole in 1979 after serving ten years in prison.
When he was released, he got a medical degree and became a physician in West Virginia. That was, however, until he was accused of ‘crossing sexual boundaries with patients,’ according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Despite the sexual allegations, however, he was allowed to continue practicing medicine in Indiana.