Most Wanted Monday: The Cop Accused of Molesting a Child and Murdering His Wife

Crime
A blog about murder, theft, and other wickedness.
April 29 2013 2:27 PM

Most Wanted Monday: The Cop Accused of Molesting a Child and Murdering His Wife

Daniel William Hiers
Daniel William Hiers

U.S. Marshals Service

Crime is Slate’s crime blog. Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @slatecrime.

On Most Wanted Monday, we profile the fugitives on various law enforcement agencies’ Most Wanted lists.

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Wanted for: Molesting a preteen girl, murdering his wife.

Added to U.S. Marshals Fifteen Most Wanted list: 2005

The circumstances: For 11 years, Daniel Hiers was a good cop, serving the city of Charleston, S.C., with honor, if not particular distinction. Then, in 2004, Hiers seems to have broken bad in a big way—he was accused of molesting a young girl he had met through a karate class. Hiers agreed to surrender to authorities in March 2005, but on the day he was to turn himself in, he was nowhere to be found. When Hiers’ mother went to his house to investigate, she found that someone—allegedly Hiers—had shot and killed his wife, Ludmila, a Brazilian who had married Hiers at age 17. Hiers was seen hours later withdrawing several hundred dollars from a gas station ATM, and hasn't been seen since. Like I said: bad cop.

What I find interesting about Hiers is how normal he looks. I know, I know, that shouldn't be surprising. Attractive people can do ugly things. But, still, the rest of the people on the various prominent most-wanted lists are almost uniformly weird looking, or at least take weird-looking pictures. With his blond hair, blue eyes, and unblemished complexion, Hiers is probably the most normal-looking fugitive on the Most Wanted lists.

Too normal, perhaps, for the FBI. As I've mentioned before, if faced with a choice between a notably weird-looking pedophile and a blandly handsome one, the FBI will generally choose the ugly one for its most wanted list, on the reasoning that the ugly face will be easier for people to remember. This is perhaps how alleged child pornographer Eric Justin Toth made the FBI's list, despite never having murdered anyone, and why Hiers has been consigned to the lesser-known U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted Fugitives list. Toth was captured last week. Hiers remains at large.

His likely whereabouts: Hiers' wife's car was discovered in the border town of Laredo, Texas, a month after she died. Hiers speaks Spanish, too, which might suggest he’s somewhere in Mexico or Latin America.

Prospects of catching him: According to the U.S. Marshals’ wanted poster, Hiers apparently said he wouldn’t go to prison, but, then, everyone says that. His wanted poster also warns that Hiers is “trained in martial arts and maintains a high level of physical fitness,” which sounds intimidating until you realize that the police who track him down will also presumably be physically fit. But lone fugitives without governmental or organizational protection can't run forever, and, thus, I'd say it's only a matter of time before the marshals bring Hiers in.

Most Wanted Score: High. Hiers allegedly killed his wife, molested a young girl, and betrayed the trust the public bestows on cops. That's pretty much the trifecta of most-wanted worthiness. 8 out of 10 for Daniel William Hiers.

Justin Peters is a writer for Slate. He is working on a book about Aaron Swartz, copyright, and the rise of “free culture.” Email him at justintrevett@fastmail.fm.

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