A Viewer’s Tip Led to the Arrest of This Fugitive Featured on ‘In Pursuit With John Walsh’

A tip from a viewer has lead to the arrest of a fugitive featured on the Investigation Discovery series In Pursuit With John Walsh, the network announced on Feb. 5. William Stanson was arrested in Mexico not long after the Jan. 29 episode featuring him aired. This is the 12th time the program has aided in the arrest of a fugitive, Investigation Discovery says. 

A viewer phoned in a tip after seeing the episode  

John Walsh
John Walsh | Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis

Stanson, an alleged sexual predator from Berrien County, Mich., was arrested by local authorities in Baja, Mexico, after a viewer who saw him on In Pursuit With John Walsh called the show’s hotline. He has been extradited to the United States, where he will likely face charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, and failure to appear for sentencing on the original charge of accosting a minor.

“Stanson marks the 12th fugitive featured on In Pursuit With John Walsh to now be in custody, and we are thrilled that our ID audience has helped lead to the arrest William Stanson, hopefully closing a dark chapter for his victims,” Henry Schleiff, Group President, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, American Heroes Channel and Destination America, said in a statement.

Stanson has been on the run for years

In 2014, several teenage girls came forward and said Stanson had molested them at a sleepover. He pleaded guilty and registered as a sex offender. A year later, Stanson’s daughter revealed that she was another one of his victims. He was charged with first degree sexual assault of a minor and accosting a minor in 2015. Before he could be arrested, he fled.

“Tips came in hours after the show aired that directly led to the location and arrest of Stanson,” the Michigan State Police said in a press release. Several other law enforcement agencies also cooperated with the hunt for Stanson, including the FBI, U.S. Marshals, the Bridgman Police Department, and the Guardia Estatal de Seguridad of Baja California. 

This isn’t the first time an ‘In Pursuit’ viewer tip has led to an arrest

Stanson is the 12th fugitive featured on In Pursuit With John Walsh to be arrested. The show has also help locate one missing child.

In February 2019, a call from a viewer led authorities to Luis Frias, who had been charged with murdering his wife in 2013.

Leroy Headley, a Vermont man accused of shooting his partner Anako “Annette” Lumumba to death, was profiled on the show in January. He was arrested in Jamaica soon after the episode aired. 

In Pursuit With John Walsh airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery. If you have information on a fugitive featured on In Pursuit, you can submit your tip on the show’s website or call (833) 3-PURSUE.

How to get help: In the U.S., call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

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