Most Wanted Fugitive Surrenders After Manhunt Moves To Vietnam
William P. Mullen, Sheriff
Sheriff William P. Mullen announces the apprehension Michael K. Lanese, 68 years old, from Upper Saint Clair. Lanese was wanted for failing to appear in court on October 14, 2009. Lanese was free from jail on a $25,000 bond for involuntary manslaughter and two counts of endangering the welfare of children. These charges stem from an incident that occurred on October 18, 2008 at Lanese’s former residence in Upper Saint Clair. During this incident it is alleged that one of Lanese’s twin sons, who were nine years old at that time had fatally shot the other. As a result of this, police charged Lanese with the previously listed charges on February 12, 2009. When Lanese failed to appear at his trial, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest, and he was placed on the Allegheny County Sheriff’s office “Most Wanted” website.
Over the past three months sheriff’s deputies along with agents from both the Pittsburgh FBI field office and Immigration and Customs Enforcement had worked together diligently to track down Lanese. These officers learned that Lanese had planned long in advance to flee from justice and had gone to great lengths to do so. Lanese had purchased a plane ticket at the end of August 2009 to travel to Vietnam, and paid cash for it. He left Pittsburgh on September 1, 2009 and arrived in Vietnam the next day. As a condition of Lanese’s bond he was required to surrender his passport to police, which he did. Lanese also went to the Department of State and lied by telling them he lost his passport and obtained a replacement. During the course of this investigation these officers were able to obtain a Vietnamese phone number that Lanese had purchased once in Vietnam. Officers also obtained an email address that Lanese was using. Officers then used an email that Lanese had sent to someone here in Pittsburgh inviting them to his wedding in Vietnam. This email is how officers were finally able to narrow down Lanese’s location.
On December 23, 2009 officers had enough probable cause to charge Lanese in the U.S. District Court of Western Pennsylvania with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. Deputy Sheriff Tim Skoog who is assigned to a local FBI task force filed these charges and a federal warrant was issued for Lanese. Detective Skoog and members of the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office fugitive squad worked with the Pittsburgh office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement making contacts with both U.S. federal agents in Vietnam and Lanese himself. On Monday of this week two FBI agents from Pittsburgh flew to Vietnam in an effort to finally bring Lanese to justice. Yesterday morning Lanese did surrender to these agents at the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. These agents took Lanese in to custody and immediately started their travel back to Pittsburgh. Lanese will be arriving this morning at approximately 9 a.m. at the Pittsburgh International Airport. He will then be turned over to the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office who will lodge him in the Allegheny County Jail. Lanese will be held there without bond.
Sheriff William P. Mullen would further like to publicly thank not only his own deputies and the local FBI and ICE offices but also the FBI offices in Bangkok, Thailand and Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and the Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. Without all of their help and assistance, bringing Lanese back to Pittsburgh could have been an almost impossible task.
For any media requesting a picture of Lanese, please visit the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office “Most Wanted” website at www.sheriffalleghenycounty.com.
Lieutenant Jack Kearney
Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office