CHAMBERS COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) An East Alabama murder suspect on the run for nearly 34-years has been captured. News 3 has confirmed 57-year-old David Anthony Pike was taken into custody in Puerto Rico.
Chambers County Sheriff Sid Lockhart is holding a Friday afternoon press conference on the cold case arrest, more than three decades in the making.
News 3 reached out to the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security service and confirmed Pike, who was allegedly living under the assumed name of Stephen Williamson Varner was arrested on Passport Fraud Charges Thursday morning in Puerto Rico.
The United States Attorney, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, with the District of Puerto Rico sent out this news release:
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -United States Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin authorized a criminal complaint against an individual purporting to be Stephen Williamson Varner, charging him with willfully and knowingly making false statements in a U.S. Passport Renewal Application.
According to the criminal complaint, on December 7, 2018, this same individual executed in San Juan a U.S. Passport Renewal Application under the Stephen Williamson Varner identity. Due to inconsistencies and fraud indicators in the passport renewal form, including a finding of a death record for a Stephen Williamson Varner, born and deceased at the early age of 22 months in the State of Alabama; the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs referred it on December 31st, 2018 to the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) for investigation. During the course of the investigation conducted by DSS, with the collaboration of the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General, agents confirmed that the individual purporting to be Stephen Williamson Varner was, in fact, David Anthony Pike, a fugitive wanted since 1985 in Chambers County, State of Alabama, on capital murder charges (a death penalty eligible offense).
“The Diplomatic Security Service not only has a statutory mandate to investigate passport and visa fraud cases but is also firmly committed to work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to bring fugitives to justice,” said Norman Ramirez-Seda, Resident Agent in Charge of the DSS office in San Juan. “In this case, an individual evading the authorities in Chambers County for over thirty years, moved to Puerto Rico where he committed fraudulent activities against multiple government agencies, including the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Postal Service, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. My office is already working with the U.S. Marshals Service and Chambers County authorities to have David Anthony Pike eventually removed to the State of Alabama, where he will need to respond to the capital murder charges pressed against him in 1985. I thank our special agents and investigative specialists, as well as the agents and inspectors with our sister federal law enforcement organizations who completed, with exceptional professionalism and dedication, this case in sixteen days.”
Chambers County investigators say Pike vanished from the area in 1985 after being arrested and let out on bond for the murder of Calvin Lee Irwin. According to investigators back on June 21st, 1985, Pike, 23-year old Irwin, and a third man drove off in Pike’s vehicle in Opelika. Authorities allege Pike, and an accomplice decided to rob Irwin but ended up beating and shooting him to death. Irwin’s body was found on the side of the road leading to Pike, and his accomplice was arrested in the case.
Investigators say when Pike was released on bond, he vanished. Authorities have been searching him for more than three decades. Stay with News 3 as this story develops.