Michael Camp’s family must have been surprised when they learned about the quiet life he was leading in the Last Frontier – at times in Eagle River, at other times in Houston – always working a job that would draw little attention, never doing anything that would require an exhaustive background check.
Surprise, confusion, disbelief: those are probably the reactions many had when they learned the Alaska man who called himself Michael Camp was in fact a fugitive wanted in Florida for sex crimes so serious the punishment could be the death penalty.
The real Michael Camp died more than 40 years ago Washington County, Pa., when he was 15 years old.
Joseph Keenan May, 60, was once a deputy sheriff in Manatee County, Fla. But in 1991, he was accused of capital sexual battery, and by 1993 he had taken off for Alaska to dodge a trial.
“Sometimes Alaska draws people who want to run away from things,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Bradley. “We find that there’s an inordinate amount of fugitives here.
“It’s unusual for somebody to be able to run so long, but eventually he got caught.”
What made it possible for May to remain undetected for so long is the same thing that led to his capture: he used the Social Security Number assigned to his deceased step-brother, Michael Camp.
He got away with it for a while, but government lawyers allege that May used Camp’s name to apply for an Alaska driver’s license in 2009 and for unemployment benefits in 2013.
The Social Security Administration caught on and got a Federal Bureau of Investigation tactical team to arrest May in his Eagle River home early Friday morning.
May now faces aggravated identity theft charges, which could lead to 12 years in prison. He also potentially faces the death penalty in Florida and will be extradited to stand trial for those charges.