News Releases

CDCR Inmate Captured in Salida 36 Years After Walking Away from Fire Camp

Inmate returns to CDCR custody to find escapes are rare and captures are immediate
Jamestown, CA– William Walter Asher III is back in California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) custody after 36 years on the run. FBI agents and task force officers assigned to the Sacramento FBI Safe Streets Violent Crime Task Force arrested him without incident Friday morning at his residence in Salida, California. The arrest team was composed of a CDCR parole agent, FBI agents and Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies.
Asher is now imprisoned at the Special Housing Unit of the Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown. He fled from Growlersburg Conservation Camp #33 in 1975 while serving a 7-years-to-life conviction for robbing, shooting and fatally beating a bartender in a San Francisco bar in 1966.

Today, inmates with Asher’s serious and violent criminal background are not allowed placement in any of CDCR’s fire camp. In addition, nearly every inmate who walks away from a camp housing assignment is almost always caught within 48 hours.

Since the mid-1980s, CDCR has strengthened criteria for the types of inmates who are allowed to work in an inmate fire camps. Inmates convicted of sex offenses or arson, or certain levels of gang affiliation also are automatically ineligible for camp placement. Camp inmates must also have less than 10 years to serve and must not have a poor disciplinary record in prison.

CDCR’s success rate is high in apprehending inmates who walk away from a fire camp or escape from an institution. Of all offenders who have escaped from an adult institution, adult camp, or adult community-based program since 1977, 99.1 percent have been apprehended.

The success rate is due in large part to the creation of specialized units, such as the Office of Correctional Safety’s (OCS) Special Service Unit and the Division of Adult Parole Operation’s California Parolee-at-Large Apprehension Team (CPAT), which investigates and apprehends CDCR escapees or parolees-at-large.

OCS has a success rate of 95 percent in capturing escapees within 48 hours. OCS is an elite force of Special Investigators and Parole Agents who conduct complex investigations and surveillances involving escapees, inmates, and parolees suspected of major crime and/or gang activity.

CPAT has demonstrated similar success with direct involvement in clearing approximately 2,280 parolee-at-large cases since its inception in January 2010.

For photos of Inmate Asher, then and now, please contact Luis Patino.

Please contact for the FBI press release about the capture.


Monday 22, 2011
Contact: Luis Patino
(916) 445-4950