Thursday, December 17, 2009

12 Days of Fugitives, Day 8: Gary Prater

Gary Prater

Gary Prater, a convicted rapist who escaped from a Florida prison almost 24 years ago, is today's Fugitive of the Day.

From the Department of Law Enforcement news release:
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) and the Florida Police Chiefs Association are offering a reward for information leading to the capture of Gary Prater, 60, for his 1986 escape from the Tomoka 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 Dec. 3, 1981, Prater was traveling from Pensacola to Orlando when he stopped to help a woman whose disabled vehicle was in a ditch near Milton, Fla. He drove her to a side road and committed sexual battery. He was arrested Dec. 13, 1981 by the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office. He was sentenced June 21, 1982 to 18 years in prison.

Prater escaped from the Tomoka Correctional Institution Jan. 31, 1986 while working in a carpentry shop outside of the fenced perimeter. Prior to his Florida conviction, Prater served six years in a Texas prison for assault with intent to kill a police officer.

“Prater has been free for nearly 24 years,” said FDLE Special Agent in Charge Jim Madden. “It takes just one solid lead to bring him back to prison.”

Prater is 6’0” and at the time of his escape was approximately 205 pounds. He has brown eyes and brown hair. Prater has used the aliases Gary Prat, John R. Casey and Gary Prato. He has relatives living in Georgia. He has previously lived and worked in Orlando.

Prater is featured today on digital billboards across the state. The Florida Outdoor Advertising Association 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.

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

Gary Prater, in an age progression illustration released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

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