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Facial recognition technology leads to arrest of fugitive 14 years later


Using facial recognition technology, the FBI and the Diplomatic Security Service successfully identified and captured a man who had been on the run for 14 years.

Neil Stammer was first arrested in New Mexico back in 1999 on multiple state charges including child abuse and kidnapping. Shortly after his arrest, he was released on bond but did not show up at his arraignment.

After Stammer was officially deemed a fugitive in 2000, the FBI launched an investigation but was unable to locate him, and the case quickly became stagnant.

Then, in January 2014, FBI Special Agent Russ Wilson posted on the official FBI website Stammer’s updated wanted poster.

A Diplomatic Security Service special agent who was trialing new facial recognition software designed to spot cases of passport fraud decided to apply the technology to FBI wanted posters.

He soon found that Stammer’s face matched that of the passport photo registered under the name, Kevin Hodges.

The agent immediately got in touch with the FBI, who eventually located Stammer in Nepal where he was teaching English.

Authorities were able to track down Stammer after he had made a few visits to the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, to update his tourist visa.

The FBI is currently developing an enormous facial recognition database which could potentially hold up to 52 million images by 2015. Last month, the FBI announced it is partnering with the Department of Defense to expand the FBI center campus in Clarksburg, West Virginia with the addition of the Biometrics Technology Center.

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