Ralph Robert Annis, an escaped murderer who had eluded Kentucky police since 1990, was arrested yesterday in Corpus Christi, Tx.. The arrest came a few weeks after the Lexington Herald-Leader began questioning state officials about their failure to close the case. Annis, who has been living under the alias Michael Winters, was convicted in 1979 of strangling his girlfriend’s 10-month-old baby. Two months before a scheduled parole hearing, he fled while on a furlough, with more than 10 years left on his sentence.
Police had made little progress in finding Annis until a former sister-in-law contacted authorities after she was interviewed by the Herald-Leader. Lt. Eric Wolford of the Kentucky State Police was at a loss to explain why they hadn’t been able to find Annis. They “probably should have been” using the Internet, he said, and he did some searching in the last couple of weeks, but that wasn’t until after he was contacted by the newspaper. In a matter of days, the Herald-Leader located a man in Texas using the first five digits of Annis’ Social Security number and the name Michael Winters.