Fugitive Could be in Los Angeles: FBI

John Joseph Hartin has been on the run for 18 years

By Kim Baldonado and Bill French
|  Friday, Mar 2, 2012  |  Updated 11:15 PM PDT
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A Boston fugitive who's been on the run for 18 years may be in the Los Angeles area, the FBI said. Kim Baldonado reports.

Kim Baldonado and Sean Browning

A Boston fugitive who's been on the run for 18 years may be in the Los Angeles area, the FBI said. Kim Baldonado reports.

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John Joseph Hartin was charged with raping two young boys near Boston back in 1993. He's been on the run ever since.

Now, this cold case is suddenly hot again, and it's the focus of a major FBI publicity campaign in four major cities, including Los Angeles.

"Investigators in Boston have determined he has family or associates in many states including California, including the Los Angeles area," said Laura Eimiller of the Los Angeles FBI Office.

"L.A. is a Mecca for fugitives," Eimiller said. "Many are caught here."

The city's size and diverse population make it easy for fugitives to blend in.

As part of the FBI's campaign, they've released a photo of how Hartin looked 18 years ago and an age enhanced photo showing how he may look now at the age of 42. They're also putting those photos on electronic billboards and airing a Hartin podcast.

And for the first time ever, the FBI is putting ads on Facebook.

"We've targeted specific demographics where we think he might be communicating with those individuals," Eimiller said.

A similar media campaign was waged by the FBI last summer to find James Whitey Bulger, a Boston crime boss who'd been on the run for 16 years.

One week after the media campaign began, a tip led to Bulger's arrest in Los Angeles The FBI is hoping they'll have similar success catching Hartin.
 

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