The final cold case in the state's "12 Days of Fugitives" campaign was formally announced today. Convicted murderer Frederick Barrett, now 58, has been on the lam since 1979. He is Florida's Fugitive of the Day.
Here is the official press release:
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) are offering a reward for information leading to the capture of Frederick Barrett, 58, for his 1979 escape from the Union Correctional Institution. He is one of a dozen cold case prison escapees being featured during the “12 Days of Fugitives” campaign – a joint public outreach initiative by FDLE and DOC.
On Aug.17, 1979, Barrett escaped from the Union Correctional Institution where he was serving a life sentence by climbing three perimeter fences.
At the time of his escape, Barrett was serving a life sentence for the murder of Carl Ardolino. On Feb. 8, 1971, Barrett was traveling on the Florida Turnpike with Ardolino, Michael Owensby and another passenger. Barrett began to choke Ardolino, who was driving the car, from behind as Owensby steered the car to the side of the road. Once the car stopped, Owensby began hitting Ardolino in the head with the handle of a knife until he was unconscious. Barrett and Owensby then carried his body to a shallow ditch filled with water and held his head underneath until he died.
”Barrett is one of the most violent fugitives featured in this campaign,” said Special Agent in Charge Jim Madden. “He has managed to fly under the radar for 30 years and its time justice is served in this case.
Barrett is 5’7” and at the time of his escape was approximately 149 pounds. He has brown eyes and black hair. He has a tattoo of a cross on his right hand and a four to six inch scar on his abdomen. He has used the alias Neil Richard Meitzer.
Authorities say Barrett has been spotted in Hawaii and may also be in California, Colorado, Florida or Maryland.
Barrett will be featured on digital billboards across the state. The Florida Outdoor Advertising Association (FOAA) and its network of member companies are broadcasting the faces of the fugitives and the tip line number throughout the campaign period. There are 90 digital billboard locations statewide.
There is an active warrant for Barrett for escape, a first-degree felony. The warrant is for nationwide extradition. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call the toll free tip line at 1-877-FLA-WANTED (1-877-352-9268) or e-mail FLAWanted@fdle.state.fl.us.
The “12 Days of Fugitives” campaign is designed to reach the public during the holiday season when investigators believe the wanted men are most likely to contact friends, family and loved ones. More than $22,000 in reward money is available, with up to $2,500 offered per fugitive for information leading to their capture. To learn more about the “12 Days of Fugitives” visit www.fdle.state.fl.us.
For Further Information Contact:
Heather Smith, Kristen Chernosky or Mike Morrison
FDLE Office of Public Information
Gretl Plessinger or Jo Ellyn Rackleff
DOC Public Affairs