Mother's request leads FBI to longtime fugitive

William Walter Asher III had been on the lam for 36 years until last week, when law enforcement tracked him down in California with a little unwitting help from his mother.

"After 36 years of looking over his shoulder, William Walter Asher III, now 66 years old, is finally back where he belongs—in prison," the FBI said in a statement, according to ABC News. 

In 1966, Asher and three accomplices robbed a San Francisco bar and killed a bartender. Asher, then 20, fled to Chicago, but was tracked down a year later and sentenced to seven years to life in prison, The Los Angeles Times reports. In 1975, with the help of a woman on the outside, Asher escaped from Growlersburg Conservation Camp No. 33 and fled to Canada and Alaska.

Up north, Asher assumed the alias David Donald Mcfee, worked as a long-haul trucker, married and had children. He later separated from his wife.

Years later, according to ABC News, one of Asher's daughters contacted the FBI for information about her father's whereabouts, "but the investigators had hit a dead end."

The break came in 2005, when Asher's mother Mable Welch was dying. Welch asked family members for help calling "Billy" using a “secret” phone number. The FBI then collected phone records from people close to Welch, and discovered that, two days before her death, two calls were made to a home in Salida, California owned by a man named Garry Donald Webb.

Then authorities found that Asher's fingerprints matched Webb's.

Last Friday morning, agents descended on Asher as he left his house, and he gave up his true identity.

According to the Times, Asher's girlfriend "was shocked to learn of Asher's criminal history and prison escape, agents said."