Murder suspect arrested; Fritz Hayes to be remembered tonight

Murder suspect arrested; Fritz Hayes to be remembered tonight »Play Video
Erik John Meiser

PORTLAND, Ore. – A white supremacist accused of stabbing a Lake Oswego man to death was arrested in Corvallis, Ore. Saturday, the Clackamas County Sheriff said.

Sheriff Craig Roberts said Erik John Meiser, 37, was spotted by a team of U.S. Marshals outside a Super 8 motel just after 2 p.m.

"We're thrilled to have him in custody," Robert said at a news conference. "All of us that have been involved in this investigation have had a major concern about somebody else getting hurt."

Meiser was taken into custody at gunpoint without incident, Roberts said. The U.S. Marshals were following up on a lead that Meiser was in Corvallis.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Meiser was staying at the motel. Investigators hope to figure out whether anyone helped him evade police.

According to a court document, Meiser was accused of murdering 57-year-old Fredrick "Fritz" Hayes in front of his wife Monday morning after burglarizing his Lake Oswego home.

Authorities said there was no indication Meiser and Hayes knew each other before the attack.

Hayes' wife and family were notified of the arrest. A family spokesperson released a statement after the arrest was announced:

"The Hayes Family is pleased with the apprehension of the suspect. We would like to thank all the city, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies involved. We would also like to thank the community for their support of the family during this difficult time. The Hayes family asks that our privacy is respected during this time of mourning."

Family and friends of the Hayes family gathered for a private celebration of life on Sunday (right).

Monday at 7 p.m., there will be a public remembrance service for Hayes at the Lake Oswego Church of Christ.

The arrest ended a nearly week-long manhunt that spanned the West Coast. Authorities said Meiser was known to travel fast and efficiently and they believed he could be in another state.

Hayes' death terrified neighbors, and much of Portland was on heightened alert for the bearded man who police called dangerous.

Roberts said the sheriff’s office received hundreds of tips during the search for Meiser.

Authorities in Ogden, Utah, also have an arrest warrant for Meiser that accuses him of aggravated assault on Sept. 8. Ogden police said the victim's face was "severely slashed" with a razor-style knife and needed treatment at a hospital.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said Meiser's criminal history goes back to 1989.

According to the sheriff's office and court records, Meiser's long criminal history includes burglary in Minnesota as well as assault, property damage, and a violation of a restraining order. In Wisconsin there was disorderly conduct. In Colorado: attempted vandalism. There are more convictions in Arizona, California, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada and Pennsylvania.
 

Other charges include cruelty toward a child, obscene phone calls, and ethnic intimidation.

Meiser has white supremacist tattoos, including one on his knuckles that spells out "Neo Nazi."

Public records indicate Meiser, when not behind bars, spent much of his life in Minnesota. Neighbors at a St. Paul address where Meiser lived in the 1990s said they couldn't remember him with certainty, but referred to the place where he lived as a "drug house."

With Meiser in custody, Hayes wouldn't be forgotten, Clackamas County Sgt. Adam Phillips said.
   
"It's the suspect that did the murder, but this is really about justice for Mr. Hayes," Phillips said.