Fugitive nabbed in Texas

An Oxford man, who has been listed on the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department’s Most Wanted List for almost two years, was finally apprehended by authorities on March 12, 2003, in Austin, Texas.
Patrick Andrew LaFleur, 31, is accused of attacking and maiming an Oakland Township woman, including biting off her ear and trying to gouge out her eyes, in June of 2001. He fled from his Oxford home on Longmeadow St. to Texas on June 3 to avoid prosecution for the more than five hour assault.
“I thought he had moved on, I really had,” said Detective Greg Glover of the Sheriff’s Department’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit. “I was shocked when they picked him up on March 7.”
According to Glover, the actual capture of LaFleur is a story in itself.
On Friday, March 7, an Austin City police officer pulled over a vehicle in which LaFleur was a passenger and began checking identifications. At this time, LaFleur provided a false name and birth date. He then took a swing at the officer in an attempt to evade possible arrest.
The Austin police officer subdued LaFleur and booked him under the false name at the Travis County Sheriff’s Department for assault.
Authorities released LaFleur later that day on bail before verification of his identity was made through finger prints.
When Austin police learned of LaFleur’s true identity, officials quickly notified the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department.
Glover immediately made contact with the detective in Texas he had worked with almost two years ago on the case. An Austin police department team was quickly put together to begin tracking LaFleur.
“They had made a mistake,” Glover explained. “They needed to find him.”
Through interviews, Austin police learned of LaFleur’s whereabouts. On March 12, they zeroed in on an apartment possibly being used to hide the fugitive, knocked on the door and struck gold when LaFleur answered. “Just from March 7 to March 12 he had already changed his appearance,” elaborated Glover.
LaFleur was listed as having brown eyes, black hair and being mostly bald. He usually wore a hair piece and grew facial hair.
At the time of his second arrest, he had trimmed his hair considerably, died it blonde and removed all facial hair. Three books on how to change an individual’s identity and fingerprints were found in the apartment. “The Austin Police arrested him on assault charges and he will be extradited back here after he is through their system,” explained Glover.
At the time of the June 2001 attack and his disappearance, LaFleur was on parole. He had already spent time in prison for aggravated stalking and had been arrested numerous other times for stalking other women. The complaints and arrests against him go back more than 10 years and involve more than seven female victims.
LaFleur can fight the extradition process to Michigan by claiming wrong identity; however, Glover said police have plenty of evidence proving who he is.
“He will be coming back here,” he said.
The Oakland Township woman whose life was forever changed during the June 2001 attack has been contacted regarding LaFleur’s capture.”I couldn’t believe it when they told me,” she said. “It’s amazing – it’s finally lifted off my shoulders. I’m free now, finally.”
Since the attack, the victim said she has lived in continuous fear that LaFleur would return to again harm either her or her family. She explained how she would run into her house after returning home from work or glance in her rearview mirror while driving scared that she would see his face. Shortly after the attack, the victim even moved and purchased a gun and guard dog for her home.
“I was so afraid to leave my home – I was so afraid he would be outside,” she said. “No one knows what it’s like to feel that way.”
Within the next several weeks, LaFleur will be going to court on charges of assault with the intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, felonious assault, kidnapping, maiming and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
“He’s facing life to any amount of years in prison,” said Glover.
The Oakland Township woman said she will be participating in the trial. “I just don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through,” she said. “No one knew where he was for almost two years. He was gone and no one knows what he did or who else he harmed.”
“The court case will be hard, but this way there will be closure on the story.”