FBI Special Agent in Charge of the San Antonio Field Office Christopher Combs; Acting United States Marshal David Sligh, United States Marshals Service (USMS), Western District of Texas; Chief of Police Brian Manley, Austin Police Department (APD); Director Steven McCraw, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and Margaret Moore, Travis County District Attorney, announced the arrest of Robert Van Wisse, an FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive, wanted for the murder of Laurie Stout in Austin.
Van Wisse was arrested on Thursday, January 26, 2017, in Laredo, Texas.
On October 3, 1996, a state arrest warrant was issued for Van Wisse by the state of Texas, Travis County, after he was charged with the murder of Stout in Austin, Texas.
(After being on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list for six weeks, Van Wisse turned himself in. Hear from Law Enforcement and the family of Laurie Stout at a press conference earlier today. Courtesy of KXAN and YouTube)
On March 6, 1997, Van Wisse was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution and a federal warrant was issued by the United States District Court, Western District of Texas, Austin.
On December 13, 2016, at a joint press conference in Austin, Texas, Robert Van Wisse was announced as the 511th addition to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.
Since the December 2016 announcement, law enforcement officers participating in FBI San Antonio’s Central Texas Violent Crimes Task Force (Task Force), which includes USMS, APD, DPS, and the Texas Rangers, have conducted extensive investigation and followed up on numerous leads in an effort to locate and apprehend Van Wisse.
On January 26, 2017, Van Wisse surrendered to law enforcement officers on the Task Force in Laredo, Texas.
REWARD of Up to $100,000 Was Offered
At approximately 8:27 a.m., on September 20, 1983, the Austin Police Department responded to a deceased person call and located the body of Laurie Stout in an office building in Austin, Texas.
Stout’s death was later ruled by the medical examiner a homicide due to strangulation and asphyxia. Stout had been working a late-night shift cleaning the building when she was murdered.
At the time of her death, Stout was only 22 years of age. She was a daughter, sister, wife, and mother to a 19-month-old baby daughter.
On the night of the murder, Van Wisse, who was a student enrolled at the University of Texas-Austin at the time, was in the building registering for a course.
Through investigation, it was determined that Van Wisse was one of the last persons seen in the building before the murder.
It is believed that Van Wisse fled the Austin area when he learned he was being evaluated as a murder suspect.
ARMED AND DANGEROUS
“No matter how much time has passed,” said Special Agent Justin Noble, a member of the FBI’s Central Texas Violent Crimes Task Force in Austin who is investigating the case, “it’s important that we finally get justice for the victim and her family.”
The victim, worked as a janitor at the University of Texas at Austin. On the September night of the murder, Van Wisse was in the building late registering for a course.
(Hear from the victims family, requesting our help to bring Van Wisse to justice. Courtesy of kxan and YouTube)
The victim’s body was found in a rest room the next morning. An autopsy revealed that she had been sexually assaulted and strangled with a wire. Investigators determined that Van Wisse was the last person seen in the building before the murder.
“He was initially ruled out as a suspect,” Noble explained, “because DNA and other tests were not as sophisticated then as they are today.”
The case went cold for a decade, until the early 1990s, when an Austin Police Department detective submitted crime scene evidence for new DNA tests—tests that took advantage of the latest technology. “The results pointed directly to Van Wisse,” Noble said.
When Van Wisse learned that he was being evaluated again as a suspect, he fled.
The FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list was established in March 1950. Since then, 512 fugitives have been placed on the list, and 481 (to include Van Wisse) have been apprehended or located—160 of them as a result of citizen cooperation.
Since its inception, there have been two fugitives wanted from FBI San Antonio placed on the list, and both of them were located and arrested.
In addition, five fugitives that have been placed on the list were arrested in the FBI San Antonio area of responsibility.