Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Clayton Waagner

Real Name: Clayton Lee Waagner
Aliases: None known
Wanted For: Terrorism, Possession, Escape
Missing Since: February 2001


Details: During the late 1990s and early 2000s, forty-three-year-old ex-felon Clayton Waagner had embarked on a cross country "Mission from God" to kill abortion providers. He used his computer skills to compile a list of abortion clinics and their employees. Armed with surveillance equipment, police scanners, and firearms, he claimed to have stalked over 100 clinics in nineteen states. However, while traveling in a stolen motor vehicle with his wife and eight children, their vehicle broke down. A license check revealed that it had been stolen, so Waagner was arrested. While in jail awaiting trial, he wrote to the extremist anti-abortion group "Army of God" for support. He became acquainted with Reverend Donald Spitz and told him about how he was upset that he was caught before he could fulfill his "mission". On December 6, 2000, a federal jury in Illinois convicted Waagner of possession of firearms by a convicted felon and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
During his two day trial, Waagner claimed the insanity defense, saying that he had received a mission from God after his daughter's miscarriage to kill doctors who provided abortions. Waagner told prosecutors that at the time that the vehicle broke down, he was traveling to Seattle, Washington, to kill an abortion doctor. Statements from Waagner were posted on anti-abortion websites. In the statements, he claimed that he would kill anyone associated with abortion clinics.
While he was in jail in February of 2001, Waagner used a plastic comb to open a lock on a maintenance closet located in the corner of his cell. Once in the closet, he went through the closet that contained plumbing and squeezed through an opening into the attic. Once in the attic, he used several tools to dismantle the roof drain, and then he enlarged the hole and climbed onto the roof. He then jumped onto another building. After that, he jumped fifteen feet to the ground. Finally, he jumped onto a nearby train and vanished. He apparently knew that the train would be there at that specific time. Amazingly, none of this was caught on security cameras and Waagner was able to escape without detection for hours.
Helicopters and dogs searched for the fugitive but with no luck. The National Abortion Federation immediately put their clinics on high alert. Two days after the escape, police received a report that a man matching Waagner's description had stolen a vehicle from a nearby gas station. The last confirmed sighting of Clayton Waagner was in June of 2001, when he was seen on a surveillance camera robbing a bank in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He has not been seen since then and is wanted for escape and terrorism.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the August 16, 2001 episode of Unsolved Mysteries. Waagner was also profiled on America’s Most Wanted.
Results: Captured. In November of 2001, Clayton Waagner sent several letters to abortion clinics, covered in white powder. He claimed that the powder was Anthrax; however, testing determined that it was a powdered insecticide. On December 5, 2001, U.S. Marshals arrested Waagner outside of a Kinko's in Cinncinati, Ohio. He had eluded law enforcement for nine months and was the subject of one the largest manhunts by U.S. Marshals. He is also the first man to appear on the U.S. Marshal's "Fifteen Most Wanted List" and the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted List." Despite the hundreds of law enforcement that was tracking Waagner, many of them very close to catching him during those nine months at large, the brazen fugitive smiled into the camera of the bank he was robbing and later prominently posted his deadly plans on his web site.
Aware that Waagner was frequenting Kinko's to use their computers for his website, the U.S. Marshals posted wanted posters of him at the counter of every Kinko's store in the country. Then, on December 5, Waagner enter the Kinko's store in Cinncinati and began to use the computer for his website. An alert employee contacted the U.S. Marshals and Waagner was soon arrested without incident. Pleading guilty to possession of a firearm and interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, Waagner was given a nineteen-year sentence. With this added to his previous sentence, he will not be released until 2046.