'Fast' Eddie Maher's 19 years on the run in America
Man who disappeared with £1m went bankrupt and ended up in Missouri
DETAILS of the life of 'Fast' Eddie Maher, the Securicor van driver who disappeared along with his family and £1m in 1993, have begun to emerge after he was arrested in America.
His van, minus its cargo of cash, was discovered in the coastal town of Felixstowe in Suffolk almost 20 years ago and there had been no trace of him until he was arrested in Ozark, Missouri earlier this month.
By coincidence, his capture came just two weeks after a Suffolk paper, the Ipswich Star, ran an article about "the man who committed the perfect crime" and commented: "A mistake by the thief remains the best chance of him being found. That would seem unlikely as the master criminal has survived two decades so far."
In the end it was his daughter-in-law, Jessica King, who tipped off the US authorities. She went to the police after her husband, Maher's son Lee, spilled the beans and then threatened her.
According to The New York Times, once Maher realised he had been caught he agreed to be taken into custody and acknowledged his real identity.
Details of the family's life on the run have now come out. Maher's wife, Deborah, and their son Lee, who was three at the time, had already flown to America when Maher disappeared. Once they were reunited, the family moved around, stopping off in New Hampshire, Colorado, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota. They had another son, called Mark, now aged 14.
Maher held down regular jobs, says the Times. He worked at Nielsen, the television ratings company, and as a broadband technician at a cable company. Apart from the fact that they had aliases, the family led a regular existence in small-town America.
"Maher was quiet, with a stern demeanor and a fondness for racial slurs," claims the Times. "He seemed to intimidate his family, particularly his doting wife. They spoke rarely, and then only vaguely, about England."
Deborah went by two alternative names, Sarah and Barbara. She chose King for her surname and that was the name the children also took. Maher kept his surname but called himself Michael.
In 2010, 17 years after he disappeared with the money, Maher was declared bankrupt. He was $35,000 in debt and had assets worth just $3,655. His wife apparently told her daughter-in-law that they had lost their fortune on the stock market.
In September 2011, the family enjoyed a remarkable slice of luck when Lee won $100,000 on a Missouri Lottery scratchcard. Yet within months it was Lee who brought the curtain down on his father's life on the run. Lee had a fondness for telling tales, and had bragged to previous girlfriends that his father was an assassin or a fugitive. When he told his wife, Jessica, the truth she told the police.
Maher’s family appear to be standing by him, pledging to join him in England when his is extradited. Deborah told the East Anglian Daily Times: "He is a wonderful father and a wonderful husband."