Top 10 Prison Escapees Who Were Never Found



Top 10 Prison Escapees Who Were Never Found

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
These are the ones who got away. For this list, we'll be looking at ten prisoners who escaped from prison and successfully evaded capture, even if it didn't end well for them. WatchMojo counts down the Top 10 Prison Escapees Who Were Never Found.

Special thanks to our user Jos van Vulpen for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Prison+Escapees+Who+Were+Never+Found.
Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 Prison Escapees Who Were Never Found

These are the ones who got away. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten prison escapees who were never found.

For this list, we’ll be looking at ten prisoners who escaped from prison and successfully evaded capture, even if it didn’t end well for them. We’ll only be including prisoners who were never found, so escapees who remain free but whose locations are known, such as Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur, will not be included.

#10: Theodore Cole & Ralph Roe


While there have been more famous and dramatic escapes from Alcatraz, this was the one that proved it could be done. Cole and Roe were bank robbers who were transferred to the seemingly inescapable Alcatraz after their escape attempts at another prison. But even Alcatraz couldn’t contain them. They fled from the island on December 16, 1937 after cutting a small hole out of a window in the prison’s tire repair shop. They were never seen again. While there were a few alleged sightings and interactions following their escape, it’s more than likely that the two drowned in the swift waters of the San Francisco Bay.

#9: Sharon Kinne


Sharon Kinne is a murderer who killed three people in the 1960s. The first was her own husband, James Kinne, who was shot in the head. The second, Patricia Jones, was the wife of a man with whom Kinne was having an affair. The third was a Mexican-born American citizen who Kinne killed while in Mexico. She was serving thirteen years in a Mexican prison when she escaped on December 7, 1969 resulting from a combination of lax security and a blackout at the prison. Authorities have all but given up their womanhunt, and Kinne, if still alive, remains at large. Her outstanding warrant is now one of the longest in American history.

#8: John Patrick Hannan


In 1955, John Patrick Hannan was serving a relatively light sentence of 21 months for grand theft auto and assault. However, he escaped from England’s Verne Prison in December of that year. He and another inmate, Gwynant Thomas, escaped from the prison after scaling a wall with knotted bed sheets, but Thomas was caught just 16 hours after the escape. Hannan, meanwhile, has remained at large for 63 years (as of 2018). Hannan is considered the most successful fugitive of all time, in term of length of time eluding capture. He is (or would have been) 85 years old.

#7: Jerry Bergevin


Jerry Bergevin had a normal life. He served in the army, settled in Bay City with his wife, and had three daughters. However, Bergevin also often resorted to burglary to provide for his family. Bergevin’s criminal life eventually caught up with him, and he was sentenced to 10-15 years for robbing a drug store. He was eventually transferred from state prison to a minimum-security prison camp and promptly escaped in 1969. The 44-year search for Bergevin was finally called off in 2013 and his charges were dropped. There has been no word from the ex-con, and his granddaughters believe him to be dead.

#6: Glen Stewart Godwin

Like Jerry Bergevin, Glen Stewart Godwin was a man trying to get by. He worked as a tool salesman, a construction worker, and a mechanic before he decided to rob his drug dealer friend, Kim LeValley. During the robbery, Godwin stabbed LeValley 26 times with a knife. He then blew up a truck with LeValley’s body inside to cover up the murder. Godwin was serving 26-to-life in Folsom Prison when he escaped via storm drain, “Shawshank Redemption” style, in 1987. He fled to Mexico and was re-arrested but escaped again in September 1991. His current whereabouts are unknown, although he is believed to be working in the Latin American drug trade.

#5: Glen Stark Chambers


Some convicts get out of prison by masterfully planning a dramatic escape. Others force their way out. Chambers simply rode a truck out and was never seen again. Chambers had beaten his girlfriend to death in 1975 and was serving life inside Florida’s Polk Correctional Institution. One day, while loading boxes onto a truck, Chambers cut a small slat out of the truck’s roll-up door and stowed himself away. He simply rode out of the high-security prison and let himself out of the cab. His case remains open, but as law enforcement agent Brannon Sheely once stated, “We are 23 years behind him at this point, and it’s a lot of ground to make up.”

#4: Omid Tahvili


Omid Tahvili is the Iranian-Canadian boss of a massive Canadian crime family. Along with other crimes, Tahvili committed mail, wire, and telemarketing fraud by stealing over $3 million with his fraudulent telemarketing business. He also kidnapped and sexually assaulted a man he believed was connected to a $300,000 robbery of his drug business. While awaiting trial in a max-security Canadian prison, Tahvili bribed a guard and simply walked out the front door. While the guard was sentenced to three years in prison, Tahvili remains at large to this day. In 2008, he was named one of the world’s ten most wanted fugitives.

#3: Eleanor Jarman


Nicknamed The Blond Tigress by the media, Eleanor Jarman was a robber who was eventually busted for the murder of clothing store owner Gustav Hoeh. Jarman was found complicit in his murder and was sentenced to 199 years in prison, although she escaped on August 8, 1940. After visiting her family, who were going through some personal troubles at the time, Jarman went underground and was never seen again. However, she maintained contact with her family through classified ads in the newspaper, although these communications stopped in the mid ‘90s, when Jarman was roughly 90 years old.

#2: Vassilis Palaiokostas


Now this is a story fit for the big screen. Palaiokostas was serving a 25-year sentence at Greece’s Korydallos Prison for kidnapping and robbery. He has been linked to various high-profile kidnappings, including those of a Greek industrialist and the CEO of a food company. In 2006, two accomplices hijacked a sightseeing helicopter and busted Palaiokostas out of prison. The guards never intervened, as they believed it was a scheduled visit from prison inspectors. While Palaiokostas was eventually re-captured, he escaped for a second time in 2009, once again using a helicopter. Despite a short gunfight, Palaiokostas escaped and flew into the sunset.

#1: Frank Morris & The Anglin Brothers


The 1962 Alcatraz escape may just be the most famous prison escape in history. In June of 1962, three prisoners – Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin - successfully escaped from Alcatraz using a complex system of fake dummy heads, ventilation shafts, and an inflatable raft. They then sailed into history. Their escape has been the subject of a movie starring Clint Eastwood, decades of discussion, various documentaries, and even a “MythBusters” test, where the escape was found possible. While some believe that they died in the attempt, other pieces of evidence, including a convincing photograph and a letter allegedly written by the 83-year-old John Anglin, may prove otherwise.

Vassilis Palaiokostas