Two Fugitives Captured In Yellowstone National Park
Contact: Nash, (307) 344-2010
Contact: Vallie, (307) 344-2012
An investigation into a hit-and-run accident in Yellowstone National Park led to the apprehension of two men wanted in connection with a bank robbery in Iowa.
About 10:30 Wednesday night, park rangers located an unoccupied vehicle in the Canyon Lodge cabin complex. The vehicle matched the description of one involved in a hit-and-run accident in the Canyon area earlier in the evening. Justin Michael Shrader returned to the vehicle and was contacted by the investigating rangers.
During questioning, rangers learned that the 23-year-old Shrader and a companion were staying in a nearby cabin. While rangers were contacting the second man, criminal checks revealed that Shrader had an active felony arrest warrant in connection with a May 8th bank robbery in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
Both men then fled into the woods. Shrader was apprehended after a short pursuit and a protracted struggle which ended when a ranger used a taser to bring the suspect under control. Shrader’s companion, 32-year-old Aaron Michael Rafferty, eluded immediate capture.
Shrader was arrested and transported to the jail in Mammoth Hot Springs. Additional law enforcement resources were dispatched to Canyon to assist in the manhunt for Rafferty. Road blocks were set up throughout the park. Entrance stations were opened to advise visitors that a manhunt was underway. Rafferty was captured around 6:00 a.m. Thursday morning when a security guard employed by Xanterra Parks and Resorts reported seeing the fugitive sleeping in a vehicle. Rafferty was taken into custody without incident. Nearly 40 law enforcement officers and special agents from Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and the Park County, Montana Sheriff’s Office were involved in the manhunt.
National Park Service rangers and special agents are working jointly with Iowa FBI and Oskaloosa City police in the investigation. Both individuals will appear before a U.S. Magistrate in Yellowstone on charges that include assault on a federal officer, eluding and evading, and DUI. They will also begin the extradition process back to Iowa where they will face both state and federal charges for armed bank robbery.
Did You Know?
Prior to the establishment of the National Park Service, the U.S. Army protected Yellowstone between 1886 and 1918. Fort Yellowstone was established at Mammoth Hot Springs for that purpose.