Real Name: Paul Eugene Stamper
Aliases: None known
Wanted For: Abuse, Harassment, Abduction, Attempted Murder, Terrorism, Escape
Missing Since: April 28, 1986
Details: On November 23, 1985, twenty-three-year-old Teresa Walden Stamper left a small dinner party in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, with her new boyfriend, Chris Butler. They had previously met in high school. The quiet evening was a pleasant change for her; she had just ended a marriage which was marked by violence and abuse. Unbeknownst to them, her estranged husband, Paul Stamper, was parked nearby, watching their every move through a high powered telescope. That night would be the culmination of a reign of terror against her.
Paul never accepted Teresa’s decision to leave him. For six months, he stalked her night and day, waiting for just the right moment to unleash his vengeance. She was constantly looking over her shoulder, never knowing where or when he would appear. He had changed; he was no longer the man she fell in love with five years earlier.
The booming oil business in the early 1980s had lured Paul to Kingfisher County, Oklahoma. He set up a lucrative oil equipment operation and hired Teresa, then an impressionable twenty-year-old, as his secretary. After working together for a few weeks, they started dating. He was a charmer and took her on trips to many different places, which was new for her. On her birthday, he called her and told her to go outside. He had bought her an ’82 red Corvette. He apparently liked to spend money and buy nice things.
One day, Paul asked Teresa to marry him and she said yes. She enjoyed being with him and enjoyed the lifestyle they were living. She believed that she was marrying a dynamic young businessman. In fact, he was a convicted felon with a record for theft, assault, and fraud, stretching back to 1974. More recently, his business practices had come under investigation in Oklahoma. Police had unconfirmed reports that he went out and destroyed some equipment on locations so that those same people would call him the next day and have him come out and repair it.
Within six months, the marriage became a living hell for Teresa. When she would go to get groceries, Paul would accuse her of cheating on him because he thought she was gone for too long. He started watching her and having people follow her. He would not let her visit her friends. Sometimes, he would refuse to let her leave the house without him. He became convinced that she was cheating on him. She recalled that, in one moment he would be nice, but in the next moment, he would hit her. She did not know how to handle him. She also recalled that he was very jealous. On one occasion, they were sitting at a red light when she looked over at a guy sitting in the car next to them. Paul responded by punching her in the mouth.
Paul was arrested and charged with assault and battery against Teresa on no less than five occasions. Each time, the charges against him were inexplicably dropped. He bragged to her that he was paying off the authorities. Sheriff Danny Graham reported hearing rumors about payoff attempts by Paul. However, he did not know if the rumors were true. He looked into a couple of incidents but could find no basis for it.
By the second year of the marriage, the violence reached a frightful climax. On the evening of January 5, 1985, a man slipped into the Stamper’s home. Teresa was out of town and a friend was staying over. The man came up to the friend while she was sleeping on the couch and slit her throat. Thankfully, she survived the attack and called the police. She later identified her assailant as Gary Trout, a local mechanic who worked for Paul.
Trout informed Sheriff Graham that Paul had contacted him and asked him to kill his wife. He was willing to pay $5,000 upfront, and then $5,000 to finish it. Paul was arrested and charged as an accessory to the attempted murder. But when Trout’s case went to court, he refused to finger his boss. Once again, all charges against Paul were dropped.
Meanwhile, Teresa moved in with her parents, yet she never felt completely safe. Paul threatened her repeatedly. On the night of September 13, 1984, he left a violent calling card: he shot out the window to her bedroom. When she looked outside, she saw him sitting in his car, revving up the engine. A few seconds later, he drove off. She felt like he let her see him so that she knew he was responsible. She reported the incident to the sheriff’s department, but again, nothing was done.
Teresa remained separated from Paul for more than a year. Despite continuing harassment from him, she tried to put her life back together. Then came the night of November 23, 1985. That evening, Teresa and Chris left the dinner party at approximately 11:30pm. While driving down the highway, they noticed what appeared to be patrol lights behind them. Chris pulled over, expecting it to be a highway patrolman. Instead, Paul appeared at the driver’s side window, wielding a gun.
Paul demanded that Teresa get out of the car, but she refused. Chris tried to wrestle the gun from him, but was unsuccessful. Paul shot him and then went to the other side of the car to get Teresa. The door was locked so he ordered her to open the door. He then grabbed her around the neck and forced her out of the car. Chris yelled for her not to leave him there, but there was nothing she could do. Paul then drove off with her in his car.
Sheriff’s deputies and paramedics were summoned by a passing motorist. Chris was in critical condition; the bullet had punctured his heart, pancreas, spleen, and lung. Miraculously, he survived; however, he suffered permanent heart damage. Meanwhile, Paul held a gun to Teresa and headed north. Two days later, they stopped at a restaurant just outside of Topeka, Kansas. While there, she asked to go to the bathroom. Surprisingly, he let her. As she walked towards the bathroom, she looked over her shoulder to see if he was following her. He was not. Instead, he was sitting at the table with his back toward her.
Realizing that this was her chance to escape, Teresa ran to the manager’s office. She pleaded with him to call the police. By the time the authorities arrived, Paul had vanished. Five hours later, police caught up with him as he boarded a bus in Salina, Kansas. He was returned to Kingfisher County and held in the county jail to await trial.
Six months later on April 28, 1986, at 3:30am, a former inmate who had been offered $10,000 by Paul broke into the Kingfisher County Jail through a window. He forced a jailer at gunpoint to open Paul’s cell. Paul and the man pushed the jailer into the cell, closed the door, and then escaped. He has not been seen since. Fortunately, the jailer was not injured. The man who helped Paul escape was later arrested and convicted.
Sheriff Graham considers Paul to be extremely dangerous because he is desperate; he does not want to get caught and spend time in prison. Teresa fears for her safety knowing that he is out there. She believes that he could be watching her at any time. She also fears that he could be stalking another woman.
- This case first aired on the October 16, 1991 episode.
- Some sources spell her name as "Theresa".
- It was also featured in the television film Escape from Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story.
Results: Captured. Just minutes after the broadcast, the FBI received information from several viewers that Paul was living in Commerce City, a suburb of Denver, Colorado. One tip was very specific; it had his alias, location, address, and employment (driving a semi truck overland). This tip brought an immediate response from the Denver FBI; they moved out within the hour.
Just three hours after the broadcast, Paul was arrested as he left his home. He had been living in the Denver area under the assumed name “Gary Wikel” for approximately four years. His true identity was confirmed through fingerprints. FBI agents were happy to be able to locate and arrest him so quickly. In November, he was returned to Oklahoma to face charges of kidnapping and attempted murder.
In April 1992, Paul pleaded guilty to kidnapping, attempted murder, and prison escape. He was sentenced to thirty years in prison. In January 2002, he was released on parole after serving ten years.
- Man Jailed On 3 Felony Accusations - December 6, 1985
- Felony Charges Denied - February 8, 1986
- Trial Date Set in Kidnapping - April 17, 1986
- Masked Gunman Frees Inmate at Kingfisher Jail - April 29, 1986
- Former Inmate Charged in Jail Escape - May 1, 1986
- Escapee to Be Featured on TV Show - December 22, 1989
- TV Program Ends 5 Years of Freedom for Escapee - October 18, 1991
- Oklahoma escapee nabbed in Colorado - October 18, 1991
- TV Crime Show Returns Fugitive to State Jail - November 5, 1991
- Kingfisher Escapee 30-Year Term - April 23, 1992
- Review: ‘From the Files of ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ Escape from Terror — The Teresa Stamper Story’ - January 22, 1995
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Paul Stamper
- Paul has a page on the Oklahoma Department of Corrections website.