Police follow up on reported sightings of murder suspect - KPTV - FOX 12

Investigators using tips, social media in hunt for murder suspect

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Police followed up on a tip Friday near Tryon Creek State Park Police followed up on a tip Friday near Tryon Creek State Park

Investigators are receiving dozens of tips about reported sightings from people who believe they've seen murder suspect Erik Meiser.

One of the reports involved Tryon Creek State Park, where police began searching around 5 p.m. Friday with a K9 unit.

Patrol cars were seen parked nearby on Englewood Drive, but Portland Police did not launch a full-scale search of the park.

And instead of just posting fliers in store windows, deputies are relying on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter to carry the images and descriptions of Meiser to the public.

He is wanted for the murder of 57-year-old Fritz Hayes at his Lake Oswego home Monday. The suspect is also wanted for crimes that happened in Utah.

Police in Ogden, Utah, are looking for the 37-year-old Meiser in connection with an aggravated assault that happened Sept. 8. Ogden police said Meiser used a razor-style knife to slash the face of a victim at the Ogden Transportation Hub. That victim was rushed to a hospital to be treated for severe face lacerations.

Clackamas County deputies learned of the arrest warrant Friday, a day after pronouncing Meiser as the suspect in the Lake Oswego murder.

Sheriff's deputies said Meiser has a long criminal history that spans several states: Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

His arrests came on charges of burglary, resisting arrest, false identification to police, possession of narcotics, vandalism, disorderly conduct, battery, trespass, theft, assault, domestic violence, cruelty toward a child, violation of a protective order, obscene phone calls and ethnic intimidation.

Detectives said Meiser is known to carry and use knives and weapons. If anyone sees him, they should immediately call 911 as deputies fear he could commit a crime again if prompted.

"We think he has a potential to do it again," said Sgt. Adam Phillips.

Sheriff's deputies would not comment on how they were able to identify Meiser as the lone suspect in the case, but said they have checked out more than 300 different citizen tips. With more tips coming in, they're working to sort through them and find information that can lead them to Meiser.

"That's an extensively difficult task to do. It involves hundreds of people who we're trying to talk to, and (we) catalog the information in a way that is not only usable, but retrievable and able to use as evidence later on."

Meiser had no prior relationship with Hayes before killing him Monday, deputies said. Hayes' wife, Margaret, was also home during the attack but was not injured.

Hayes was a retired engineer who most recently worked at computer solutions provider All Tech 1. He was described by family friends and neighbors as "a wonderful man" and "the coolest dad."

As for Meiser, it's not known if he has any connection to Oregon, or why he was in the Lake Oswego area. Phillips said the suspect has "an extensive history of traveling all over the western United States."

Meiser is known to use public transportation, and at this point deputies believe he could be anywhere. He is described as a very slender white man, about 6'5" tall and 170 to 190 pounds. When he was last seen, he had a scraggly beard.

He has several white supremacist tattoos including the word "Nazi" on his left fingers. He also has other tattoos, mostly of white supremacy imagery, located on his left arm, left finger, right leg, abdomen, back, right calf, left leg, left calf and left shoulder.

If you have seen Meiser in the last seven days, call the tip line at 503-723-4949.

Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved.

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Fritz Hayes was killed at his Lake Oswego home on Atwater Road on Monday, Sept. 17. More>>

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