A number of local law enforcement officials are upset that the FBI did not pay the full $150,000 promised in wanted posters for information leading to the arrest of McVean. The Bayles family is considering a lawsuit to receive the additional reward.
Because of the threat of a lawsuit, the FBI would make no further comment on the matter, other than stating its belief that “the $75,000 payment represents fair compensation to Bayles.”
Bayles, a cowboy from Blanding, discovered the remains of McVean on June 5, 2007 while working near Cross Canyon in rugged east central San Juan County. It was nine years after McVean and two fellow fugitives disappeared in the area after allegedly killing Cortez police officer Dale Claxton on May 29, 1998.
Wanted signs posted throughout the country since the murder of Claxton promised a $300,000 reward to anyone who could provide “information leading to the arrest” of the remaining two at-large fugitives, Alan “Monte” Pilon and McVean. The wanted posters specifically stated that payment would be $150,000 each for information leading to the arrest of McVean and Pilon.
The third fugitive, Robert Matthew Mason, died approximately a week after the killing of Deputy Claxton when he shot San Juan County Deputy Kelly Bradford and then himself near the swinging bridge east of Bluff.
The wanted posters sought information leading to the arrest of the fugitives and in both cases, the resolution was not an arrest, but the discovery of human remains.
A group of deer hunters discovered the remains of Pilon in 1999. On January 7, 2000, the FBI paid $150,000 to the group of eleven deer hunters from the Montezuma Creek area that discovered Pilon’s remains. They each received $13,636.
With the payment to Bayles, the FBI has paid $225,000 in rewards associated with the case. In addition, Montezuma County (Colorado) Crime Stoppers presented a $13,314 check to Bayles in October, 2007. That check was from locally pledged funds.
Bayles was checking cattle in June, 2007 when he noticed a piece of cloth that caught his eye. He discovered that it was from a bullet-proof vest. When, upon closer inspection, he found several pipe bombs, he notified law enforcement officials.
A closer inspection by law enforcement resulted in the discovery of bullets, a rusted AK-47, and scattered human remains.
Law enforcement officials breathed a sigh of relief when the remains of McVean were positively identified. Since they disappeared in 1998, the two at-large fugitives had stymied law enforcement officials and captured the imagination of many who wondered where they had gone. Had they simply disappeared despite one of the most massive manhunts in history? Despite the rumors of their escape, the bodies of both fugitives were discovered in very rough country not far from their last known positions.
The third fugitive, Robert Matthew Mason, likely ended up traveling farther (and possibly living longer) than the other two. He died near the swinging bridge a week after the killing of Claxton.
In a press release regarding the issue, the FBI said it would like to “once again thank all of the local, state, tribal and federal law enforcement and public safety agencies who worked so diligently… to find the killers of Officer Claxton.”