MONROE, Mo. (CBS St. Louis) – A fugitive who had been on the run from the law for almost three decades is now believed to be deceased.
The man, known by Missouri authorities as Dennis “Slick” Lilly, may have died in 2012 of pancreatic cancer, according to the Kansas City Star.
Lilly was said to have assumed the alias of Dave Murray, and had ultimately made his way to Gold Bar, Wash.
“The investigation will continue until the medical examiner has confirmed the identity and cause and manner of death,” Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Shari Ireton was quoted as saying. “If it’s not who we think it is or if the death is not natural, we’ll go from there.”
What detectives believe could be Lilly’s body was found under a woodshed behind the home shared by the man and his wife, who identified herself to police as Amanda Murray.
Lilly had been incarcerated for a long list of crimes, including burglary, robbery, car theft and aggravated assault on a police officer. While in prison in 1975, he made his first attempt to escape by tunneling out of his cell. He was caught two weeks later, however.
After several more attempts to flee, he finally succeeded by stealing a prison guard uniform and using it to make his way out of the Missouri State Penitentiary.
The search for Lilly would continue for years after his escape, and would even entail appearances on “America’s Most Wanted.” However, Lilly reportedly made a new life with his wife, Mary Lilly, under their assumed identities.
As Dave Murray, Lilly was said to have become a business owner who also interacted with the community by posing as Santa Claus every holiday season, due to his ability to grow a white beard.
Ultimately, the case gained new traction after Amanda Murray filed an application with an online stock trading firm – an application that was denied since her personal information did not match her assumed name, the Star learned.