It was one of the largest criminal investigations in the history of the bureau, no question. I was interviewed by ABC News on the FBI’s hunt for James Earl Ray:
Thousands of FBI agents spent months hunting down every lead looking for Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin, but the final crack in the case came almost by accident.
King was fatally shot 50 years ago today, on April 4, 1968, while standing on a motel balcony in Memphis. The massive manhunt for his killer, James Earl Ray, started shortly after he fired his rifle from the bathroom of a nearby boarding house.
As the FBI launched into what would turn into a two-month, international manhunt, the country started to burn.
Riots and unrest were reported in more than 100 cities following King’s death, with the most damage reported in Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. According to the Washington Business Journal, the nation’s capital sustained $27 million in damages at the time, which equates to $193.4 million in 2018 dollars.
The urgency to catch King’s killer was real, and the now-50-year-old saga remains one of the biggest manhunts in U.S. history.
From examining thousands of fingerprints by hand to tracing down a new technique used by a small number of laundromats after a lead found in the seam of discarded underwear, agents worked through a seemingly endless stream of leads as the world waited for the killer to be caught.
“I would say it’s probably one of the largest criminal investigations in the history of the bureau, no question,” said Ray Batvinis, a former FBI agent who worked in the bureau at the time but was not directly assigned to the case. . . . (read the rest)