After 40-year manhunt, can fugitive George Wright be brought to justice?
Produced by Josh Yager, Mead Stone and Jonathan Leach
From old photos to artists sketches to a lifelike age-enhanced plaster bust they created, it's almost as if the fugitive George Wright himself were watching and taunting the three-man task force who've been on a hunt to find him -- around the world and across the decades.
"We had photos. We had fingerprints," said Rick Cope of the U.S. Marshal's Service.
"We know that he had false teeth," said Dan Klotz of the New Jersey Department of Corrections. "We knew he had scars..."
"You could see a scar on the forehead," said Cope.
"Our job, our responsibility is to find this man," added Klotz.
"He is a very smart adversary," said R. J. Gallagher, recently retired from the FBI.
For R. J. Gallagher, Rick Cope and Dan Klotz, the saga begins with Wright's involvement in the murder of war hero Walter Patterson in 1962.
"He hurt this family ... he's gotta pay for what he did," said Dan Klotz.
"The crime is senseless..." Ann Patterson told Spencer of her father's murder. "There are triggers throughout the year, his birthday, the day he got shot, the day he died."
Today, a lot of her past is boarded up and paved over... and for decades, Walter Patterson's daughter, Ann, tried to keep it that way.
Ann's daughters, Terry and Jackie, never actually knew their grandfather and never knew why.
"It was never spoken of in the house at all," said Terry.
"We knew it was a quiet subject for a reason and not to bring it up," added Jackie.
Now, 50 years after his murder, Walter Patterson's granddaughters are spearheading their mother's fight to finally bring George Wright to justice.
"On behalf of the commission ... I welcome Ann Patterson who, along with her family, have suffered irreparable harm from the brutal violence committed against her beloved family by George Wright," said Rep. Chris Smith at a hearing on Capitol Hill.
"My father was robbed, brutally beaten, and shot," Ann said addressing the commission. "I was 14 years old. The nightmare was just beginning."
"Her whole timeline of her life just ... shifted," Terry told "48 Hours."
Ann was born in 1947. Her father, Walter, served on the front lines in World War II, coming home with a Bronze Star. Back in New Jersey, he opened a small gas station. Today, it's abandoned, but still standing.
After dinner on Nov. 23, 1962, he left home and headed back to work.
"... and I did what I always did ... I stood in the window and I went like this," Ann recalled, waving. "...and he waved to me. That was the last time I saw him alive."
After spending 17 of his 25 years at the FBI on this case, R. J. Gallagher knows every detail of what happened next.
"It was a simple robbery of a gas station," he explained.
Just after 9 p.m., a black and white sedan pulled into Patterson's gas station. Two men - a pair of short order cooks named Walter McGhee, 22, and George Wright, 19, went inside.
"I had a gun, I had it in my waste...a .32," McGhee told "48 Hours."
Wright had a sawed off .22 rifle. They demanded Walter Patterson's money -- all $70 of it.
"Here's a guy who fought for his country," said Gallagher, "now somebody's coming in and trying to take his piece of America."
"He's not gonna let that happen," said Spencer.
"No ... it's what he fought for," he said.
And he put up a hell of a fight this time, too. According to Gallagher, the gunmen beat Patterson savagely.
"Walter Patterson made a lunge for me...and we got to tussling..." said McGhee.
"... and they started hitting him ... about that head with their weapons. They knocked him to the ground," said Gallagher.
"... and I pulled out my gun ..." said McGhee.
In his decades as a fugitive, George Wright has been as elusive to reporters as to authorities, though he did speak to Mike Finkel for a GQ magazine exclusive titled "Uncatchable".
Finkel taped the interview, in which Wright paints himself as an almost innocent bystander:
George Wright: Nobody was thinking about going and shoot nobody. You know, I think my mind just froze up on me.
Mike Finkel | GQ magazine: And you probably just were standing there just like...
George Wright: With my mouth open probably.
Mike Finkel: Do you remember seeing any blood or anything like that?
George Wright: No, I didn't even look at the guy, to tell you the truth. I was shaking like crazy ... and McGhee also ... he had shot the guy... and he didn't know whether it had killed him or not.
Police found bullets and casings, but couldn't say for sure how many shots were fired or by whom. For Walter Patterson, it didn't matter.
"... it went through his abdomen ... it went through his kidney and his liver," Gallagher explained, pointing to his side. "...and the bullet never exited."
The robbers fled. Minutes later, Ann's daughter, Terry, says passing motorists found Patterson barely conscious.
"He was beaten so severely ... it took like 10 or 12 -- numerous hours to try to piece together his skull," she said.
Two days later, Walter Patterson died -- but not before describing his attackers and their car.
"It's amazing that he could give that much information," Spencer commented.
"He definitely helped to solve his own homicide," said Gallagher.
Police soon found the car, and within 48 hours, they had the driver along with the two gunmen: Walter McGhee and George Wright.
To avoid the death penalty, both men pleaded no contest to murder. The fatal bullet matched Walter McGhee's gun; he got life. George Wright got 15 to 30 years.
"I felt safe then because then they were in jail," said Ann.
George Wright GQ interview: That night in jail, the reality of it hit me ... Minimum 15, maximum 30 years in New Jersey State Prison ... just sounded like the end of the world.
For Ann Patterson, it also felt like the end of the world.
"You look at the clock and right ... daddy should be coming home. And he's not coming home ... and you gotta remind yourself of that," she told Spencer.
"You still call him daddy," said Spencer.
"He'll always be my daddy. Because there's a part of me that's still 14 years old," Ann replied. "I was probably was like a little soldier or a zombie all through high school ... I don't have a lot of memories of it, I just did what I had to do and immersed myself in my school work."
"There's school pictures and so forth, after that point, the pictures kind of stop," Spencer noted to Terry.
"The family did stop. Her family ended at that point," she said.
Living moment to moment, she struggled through high school and gave up any hope of college. Then, one August day nearly eight years after the murder, Ann's past caught up with her.
"My Aunt Jenny called me up and said, 'Ann, George Wright has escaped!' She said lock your doors..." recalled Ann.
That was only the beginning...
"Prison breaks, hijackings, fleeing from country to country to country," said Terry.
"It's a roller coaster ride," Jackie said. "...you just wonder what's next ... the next twist ... the next turn.""It's not just that one person that gets shot. That shot reverberates through everybody else," said Ann Patterson.
"My grandfather never got to see his daughters grow up ... he never got to see them get married ... he never got to watch them have their children. And that was ... because of George Wright," said Ann's daughter, Terry.
By the summer of 1970, George Wright had served nearly eight years of his 15- to 30-year sentence for his involvement in Walter Patterson's murder.
George Wright GQ interview: When I walked into the jail and they closed them doors behind me ... it seemed like that I, I was closed off from the world.
Despite his crimes, in those GQ magazine tapes, Wright portrays himself as a victim of society and a champion of social justice.
George Wright GQ interview: Society would say, "Hey, you did that...it's against the law...' but people all through history, they have been struggling against the power structure ... have always been called criminals or outlaws...
"So at that time, it looks like George Wright is going to be in prison at least 15 years," Susan Spencer commented to retired FBI agent R. J. Gallagher. "Correct," he replied.
But George Wright had a very different plan.
After serving part of his time in a maximum security facility, Wright was transferred to a minimum security prison in southern New Jersey.
At the time there were no bars, no razor wire and no problem with simply walking away.
Just after the 11 p.m. bed check on Aug. 22, 1970, that's exactly what he and three others did.
George Wright GQ interview: We walked off in the night...there were, uh, guards around ...
Armed with a few tools and an audacious plan, they weren't on foot for long.
"They decided to take the warden's car and flee to Atlantic City," said investigator Dan Klotz.
"They hot-wired the warden's car? Spencer asked.
"Yes," Klotz and investigator Rick Cope replied in unison.
Mike Finkel | GQ magazine: I read that you stole the warden's car. Is that true?
George Wright: I ain't gonna make no comment on that.
Mike Finkel: I think that that is funny.
George Wright:Yeah, well, I'll bet he didn't.
Police found the car and quickly recaptured two of the men. George Wright and the fourth inmate had vanished.
"These people are walking the streets. You don't know where they're gonna go," said Ann.
As the years turned to decades with Wright still on the loose, Ann Patterson lost hope that authorities ever would find him. So she was shocked, when, 24 years after the prison escape, FBI Agent R. J. Gallagher called to introduce himself.
"He was genuinely interested in my father's case," Ann told Spencer.
"What reassurances could you give her at that point?" Spencer asked Gallagher.
"I said I would work as hard as we could and do what we could ... to find this guy," he said.
Gallagher told Ann it was a long shot. The FBI had destroyed the Patterson case file long ago and Gallagher didn't even know if Wright was still alive.
"So where did you start?" Spencer asked.
"Friends, acquaintances, relatives..." Gallagher replied. "We checked phones, we checked emails ... there was nothing that was off the table."
Suspecting Wright was overseas, Gallagher sent Interpol the fingerprints taken at Wright's 1962 arrest. He also digitally age enhanced Wright's mug shot, to show what he might look like years later.
"About half way through this, the U.S. Marshals and the Department of Corrections joined and we formed a nice team," said Gallagher.
"It was a perfect storm of investigators," said Rick Cope.
Rick Cope and Dan Klotz were on a fugitive task force also looking at the case when they teamed up with Gallagher in 2002.
"So we only had very, very minimal information on the actual original crime," said Cope.
Following the smallest of leads, often working nights and weekends, they learned that after his escape, George Wright spent time in Atlantic City and then in New York, once working as, of all things for a fugitive, a male model.
George Wright: Until I realized what I was doing ... 'cause I was ... on the run at the time.
Mike Finkel | GQ magazine: And having your picture taken.
George Wright: So that was the end of my modeling career.
Wright made his way to a house in Detroit.
"There was a bunch of people living there...it was like a family so to speak," said Klotz.
George Wright GQ interview: It was in Detroit that we became affiliated with the Black Panthers.
The Panthers had burst onto the scene in 1966 with a radical philosophy for the time: revolution militant action. Wright, along with four others, hatched a plan to leave white America behind and make an outrageous statement in the process.
George Wright GQ interview: At the time we wanted to become more active in the struggle... so that people would see that we were for real.
CBS News report: A Delta Airlines jet from Detroit to Miami was taken over by eight passengers...
On July 31, 1972, Delta Airlines flight 841 was boarding passengers in Detroit headed for Miami. Captain William May remembers seeing a priest.
"He gestured towards me with his Bible," May told Spencer. "As he went back towards his seat, I said, 'Well, a priest - nice to have him aboard.' ... We won't have any trouble with this guy."
That Bible was hollowed out with a handgun inside -- undetected by the lax security of the day.
Mid-flight, Captain May came out of the lavatory to find a passenger pointing a gun at him. Back in the cockpit was a second gunman: the innocent looking priest.
"The priest had this girl, flight attendant, around like this with a pistol pointed to her head," May explained of the gunman holding his arm around the flight attendant's neck. "And the pistol was cocked. And I said: 'Look...uncock that gun. We can talk.' ... I said, 'Now, what do you want?' He says, 'We want a million dollars and we wanna go to Algiers.' And I said, 'Algiers?' I said, 'Where the hell's Algiers?' (laughs) I said, 'This airplane won't fly to Algiers.'"
At 41, May was still a junior pilot; he'd never even flown all the way across the ocean.
CBS News report: The plane taxied to a remote area of Miami International Airport. ... One of the men was dressed as a priest.
Investigators soon identified the priest as George Wright.
Fueled by a mixture of radical politics and rage against the system, Wright was about to become one of the most wanted fugitives in America.
"Captain May made the announcement," passenger Elaine Ottevaere recalled. "That's when people started screaming."
"He terrorized the people on that plane," said Klotz.
"You don't bring a gun on an airplane and expect something good to happen," said Cope.Ann Patterson was watching the news that July day in 1972, and soon found out who the lead hijacker was.
"When I saw the hijacking on TV, I thought, 'Oh, those poor passengers,'" she said. "I remember how afraid I was the night that my father was shot ... so I ... wondered if they were gonna come out of it alive themselves."
When Delta 841 from Detroit landed in Miami, the gun-toting "priest" made the hijackers demands crystal clear. CBS News cameras were there.
CBS News report: The hijackers demanded ... $1 million in small bills, the largest amount ever in an airplane ransom.
"You now understand that this is deadly serious," Susan Spencer commented to Capt. William May.
"Yes," he replied. "They really seemed that determined."
The determination can be heard on the cockpit recordings Captain May identifies as from that day:
Capt. May on 1972 tower recording: He tells me if his instructions aren't followed implicitly as outlined that they're gonna shoot somebody.
FBI: Okay, now, just be cool ... he's gonna get the money.
More than 40 years later, May returned with "48 Hours" to the Miami airport and recalled how hard it was to "be cool."
"What did they say would happen if you didn't go ahead and do what they said?" Spencer asked.
"That's when he said he would start throwin' a body out the door every minute after two o'clock," said May.
Hijacker: You got 15 minutes for everything we're gonna do ... I'm not jivin'...
Adding to the surreal atmosphere, Wright's team of hijackers insisted that an FBI agent deliver the million dollars to the plane and that he be naked.
"So they want to make sure that the FBI agent who's giving the money has no weapon," said Spencer.
"No weapon, exactly," investigator R.J. Gallagher affirmed.
Captain May thought that was a bit much and helped convince Wright and the others to let the agent at least wear a bathing suit.
George Wright GQ interview: We didn't want violence, and that with short pants we would ensure that they had no weapons ... and that's exactly why we did it.
1972 CBS News report:
Reporter: What happened when the money came to the plane?
Elaine Ottavaere | Passenger: They brought it up with rope.
Once the money was transferred, the hijackers released the 86 passengers unharmed, including 25-year-old Elaine Ottavaere.
"Passengers were terrified ... people were definitely panicking," Ottavaere recalled. "When we got off the plane, we were all standing out like in the middle of the runway. ... People were crying and it was very emotional -- because now we're off, but they're onto their next phase of this ordeal. ... We didn't know if they would ever make it alive."
1972 CBS News report:
Reporter: Did the hijackers say where they wanted to go and did you talk with them at all?
Elaine Ottavaere | Passenger: No. Uh uh. The stewardess said they wanted to go to Algiers.
Algeria, at the time, was a haven for exiled Black Panthers and other militants. The hijackers were now frantic to get there with $1 million in cash and seven Delta crew members in tow.
"The buses drove away. And Wright-- he kept ... he would, he would, put the pistol right in my neck, and said, 'Get goin', get goin,'" said May.
But before they got under way to Algeria, the plane had to stop in Boston for extra fuel and a navigator. They made him strip down as well.
CBS News report: More than 50 FBI agents and state police were staked out at the Boston airport.
George Wright kept a gun on Captain May and ordered him to take off again. The plane headed out over the dark Atlantic Ocean for a flight into the unknown.
"Did you have any extensive conversations with any of them?" Spencer asked May.
"Not at that point," he replied.
"So, we're done talking."
"We're done talking. We're going to Algiers now," said May.
Before landing, the captain tried to reason with George Wright one last time.
"I said, 'Look down there,' May recalled. "I said, 'I don't know how bad things were in Detroit,' but I said, 'You're not gonna like it here. I can tell you that!'"
As he taxied to a stop, Captain May remembers he wasn't too crazy about it himself.
"And all these guys spring out of the bushes with rifles pointed at the cockpit," May said. "And I thought, 'Hmm, whose side are they on here?'"
Algerian officials granted asylum to the hijackers, who promptly held a press conference with George Wright center stage. The Algerian government soon returned the plane and the $1 million. Wright and company disappeared into the sprawling city.
"This was like the beginning of terrorism," Ann Patterson said. "I remember the shock. I mean, everybody was shocked at this..."
Shocked especially, Ann Patterson remembers, because she just assumed that once Wright's identity was known, he'd be caught - period.
"I thought, 'They're going to get him now. They're finally gonna catch him. And this is gonna be it,'" she said.
The others were caught and imprisoned about four years later in France. George Wright would remain "uncatchable" for four more decades.
"It's crazy," Terry said. "It's just one thing after another that he got away with."
"It was a game for him," said Jackie.
Wright was hiding in the last place on earth anyone would think to look ... and by living an extraordinary double life.
George Wright left Algeria not long after the hijacking and became the invisible man.
Investigators Dan Klotz and Rick Cope describe him as "brazen" and "intelligent."
"He's a bad criminal ... I don't know how he keeps ducking," said investigator R. J. Gallagher.
Wright was successfully ducking by drifting around France, Germany and Portugal, his pursuers say, until he found the perfect place to hide.
Investigators now know that in the early 1980s, Wright left Western Europe and came to the tiny West African country of Guinea Bissau.
Believe it or not, he appears to have come to do good deeds and help the poor.
George Wright GQ interview: I began to get in the scheme of things after I met people. ... I was invited to their homes and to their parties and stuff like that and I began to know people.
"It didn't seem fathomable," said aid worker Curtis Reed.
When Reed arrived in 1989, he says Wright was helping dig wells for villagers in Guinea Bissau, whose Marxist government was then decidedly sympathetic to revolutionary ideas.
"How did he say he had come to be in Guinea Bissau?" Spencer asked Reed.
"That this was the place that he wanted to be, and... " he replied.
"Humanitarian that he was?" remarked Spencer.
"There is nothing to contradict that," said Reed.
"He fooled a lot of people," said Klotz.
George Wright GQ interview: Working in Guinea... was fun ... I had a lot of fun ... I didn't even consider it work.
Reed says Wright made himself indispensable.
"He was the fixer, the facilitator, the person to go to if you needed an extra propane gas bottle ... find a plumber or uh, an electrician," he explained.
"You called him a model citizen?" Spencer asked.
"For my money, you know, he was that," said Reed.
A model citizen, who married the daughter of an influential Portuguese general and had two kids.
"He was a very dedicated father and spouse ... he was a very strong family man," Reed told Spencer. "I was totally floored by uh, the revelations that he had been involved with a murder ... he had hijacked a plane ... that he was on the lam. ... It was inconceivable."
Hannes Stegemann, a German who ran a local development project, claims George Wright's criminal past was an open secret in Guinea Bissau.
"I knew that there was this robbery. I knew that a person got killed. I knew that he felt guilty," he said.
Wright lived there for 13 years, eventually getting citizenship under a different name.
"He was always the black American ... who found asylum in Guinea Bissau and he was seen as kind of a hero," said Stegemann.
"Apparently doing good works?" Spencer asked.
"Very good. Very good."
Video taken when Wright was a fugitive in Africa shows him on the job Stegemann hired him for: a project to help fisherman bring their catch to a market.
Everybody knew George Wright, including John Blacken, who was U.S.
Ambassador to Guinea Bissau from 1986 to 1989.
"He seemed a very pleasant, nice young man," Blacken said. "I would suspect that I ... invited him to the Fourth of July party."
"Are you a little appalled by that today?" Spencer asked.
"Well, it's hard to be appalled by somebody that seemed to have a good reputation locally and you had no inkling of what his past was," he replied.
Even 30 years later, it isn't hard finding people here who have nice things to say about George Wright.
"He did a lot of basketball training...and kids admired him," said Stegemann.
Pedro Dalmana says the American he knew as 'Jack' taught youngsters in the area a lot about basketball and about life.
"Did you go to over his house a lot as a kid?" Spencer asked Dalmana.
"Every day," he replied.
"I think the people of Guinea Bissau that feel that he was a good man, they were fooled, they didn't really realize what he was capable of doing," said Klotz.
"The real George Wright, in our opinion, is the George Wright that acted so violently here," said Cope.
George Wright left Guinea Bissau in 1993. At the time, investigators had no idea he'd ever been there to begin with.
"He did help the people in Africa. And that's great for them," said Ann Patterson's daughter, Terry. "That doesn't change what he did to my mother and her family."
What he did, say Terry and Jackie, makes their mother fearful to this day.
"She says she doesn't go to gas stations," Spencer noted to Terry. "She doesn't go to hospitals."
"She does not," Terry replied. "My mother has 12 grandchildren and did not go to the hospital ... for the births of any of them. She physically is unable to step foot into a hospital."
"The room starts spinning," Jackie explained. "The smell of the hospital brings her back to that time when she was 14 years old."
"There is a price to pay for what he has done," said Terry.
"You can't start over until you pay your debt," said Ann.
Then, in the fall of 2011, Ann Patterson learned it might be payback time.
"R.J. said to me, 'Just stick around the house for next couple of weeks,'" she said. "He said we might be onto something..."
"Put yourself in this situation. It was your father. You would hope that there's people out there that'll never give up," said Klotz.
R. J. Gallagher, Rick Cope and Dan Klotz had been locked in this cat-and-mouse game for more than a decade when, almost 50 years after Walter Patterson's murder, the trio tracking George Wright finally hit pay dirt.
"I got a phone call that it's 100 percent your guy," said Klotz.
"The police started following him from his residence. They got him to this location... that's when they approached him," said Gallagher.On Sept. 26, 2011, George Wright's life as an international fugitive came to an unceremonious end when police cornered him in a cafe near Lisbon.
George Wright: And I walk out of the door and these guys surrounds me.
Mike Finkel | GQ magazine: How many?
George Wright: About six or seven of them. Call me by my name.
He'd come to Portugal in 1993 from Africa, where he had changed his name to Jose Luis Jorge Dos Santos. Now 68, the handyman and painter was living with his family in the tiny coastal town. He even had a Facebook page.
"So a print from his original arrest ... Matches a print the Portuguese have on file?" Susan Spencer asked investigator R. J. Gallagher. "Yes," he replied.
"But in terms of what led you to ask the Portuguese to match this print..." said Spencer.
"Good teamwork," Gallagher replied.
"Phone taps? Those things?" Spencer asked the investigators.
"We can't discuss it. I'd love to tell you, we just can't do it," said Rick Cope.
"We're just not gonna go there," said Dan Klotz.
After 17 years on the case, R. J. Gallagher had retired just six weeks before the arrest. Rick Cope and Dan Klotz were at the Portuguese police station when Wright was brought in for questioning.
"So he walked by you ... you looked at this guy that you'd been looking for, for almost a decade, what went through your mind?" Spencer asked.
"He looked very angry, which was very rewarding to me personally," said Cope.
George Wright GQ interview: One of the questions was where I been before I came here? I told them Guinea Bissau. And where you been before that? I said in France. ... And then they asked me how about Algiers ... and I said "OK let's put the cards on the table."
He readily admitted he was George Wright, and soon asked for a lawyer. Back in New Jersey, FBI agents gave Ann Patterson the news she thought she might never hear.
"I was outside hanging up clothes and this car pulled in," Ann recalled. "And I thought 'this is it!' ...and he said, 'Ann we got him.' It's shock, it's just shock. ... It is relief."
But the Pattersons relief quickly turned to outrage and astonishment when, incredibly, after more than 40 years as a fugitive, George Wright was set free just days after his arrest.
Mike Finkel | GQ magazine: Do you think you should be further punished for anything you've done? What do you think?
George Wright: No, my punishment is over. Finished.
The Portuguese courts twice dismissed American demands for extradition, ruling that despite his phony identification, Wright was in fact a Portuguese citizen now and by their law, they were not obligated to turn him over.
"I did not understand how it could be possible that nothing was going to get done legally," said Terry. "That little smile on his face in all those pictures in the newspaper ... doesn't cut it for me."
"It's crazy," said Jackie. "He's pretty much getting away with all of it."
Wright's wife, Rosario, says her husband is well liked and known for his devotion to charity and to church. She spoke to AP Television in the picturesque village they now call home.
"He did tell me about being in jail ... I thought he was pulling my leg," she said. "He regrets the choices he made..."
George Wright GQ interview: And I've asked God to forgive me for even being involved. ... I think God has forgiven me."
"I really don't think a leopard changes his spots," said Klotz.
"If he wasn't a killer, he never would've picked up the weapon and gone in there," Ann told Spencer.
"So as far as you're concerned, George Wright is as guilty of murder as the guy who actually fired that bullet," said Spencer.
"Yes," Ann said. "Because at any point, he could've turned away."
"I accompanied someone who committed a crime...and they sentenced me on that particular aspect," Wright told AP Television.
Though he disputes some of the details of that night, George Wright does express remorse for what he did.
"I would like to apologize to her and hopefully she would forgive me, you dig? Really, I would," he said in the interview.
Still, Wright insists that Ann Patterson is blaming him for what he didn't do.
George Wright GQ interview: Really, I cannot understand ... why she would be so angry ... with me personally. ... I didn't kill the guy.
Like Wright, the man whose bullet did kill Patterson disputes authorities account of the crime, but Walter McGhee is decidedly not apologetic.
"I'm not apologizing for nothing that happened 50, 40, 50 years ago," he told "48 Hours."
After nearly 15 years in prison, McGhee is out on parole and thinks Wright beat the rap.
"If George Wright was sitting here right now ... I would punch him in his face!" McGhee said. "His gun didn't kill him. But he was standing right in there with me."
Under U.S. law, Wright is as guilty as if he'd fired the shot.
Last summer, with no obvious way to bring him to justice, three generations of Pattersons made an appeal on Capitol Hill. R. J. Gallagher was at their side.
"The failure of extradition ... makes a mockery of the crime against my father," Ann said addressing the panel. "My father was robbed, brutally beaten and shot in his gas station in Wall Township, N.J. on Nov. 23, 1962."
"He would never be able to walk his daughters down the aisle on their wedding day," Ann's daughter, Terry, said on the stand, overcome with emotion. "Or enjoy the births of their children."
"This is unjust. This is a travesty," said Jonathan Winer, a former State Department official who shocked the hearing by suggesting a radical solution.
"Such as snatching Wright as he's going about his day to day business ... then bringing him to the United States to face justice.
The growing attention since his arrest apparently has spooked George Wright:
Susan Spencer (on the phone): Yes, I'm trying to reach George Wright, please.
George Wright: Who's speaking?
Susan Spencer: My name is Susan Spencer. I'm from CBS.
George Wright: Who?
Susan Spencer : Susan Spencer from CBS...
George Wright: Uh ... thank you, but, uh, no ... bye bye.
Over a period of 10 days, "48 Hours" kept watch on his house and realized that, remarkably, George Wright had vanished again.
"He appears to have gone back into hiding," Spencer said to Gallagher as they sat in a car outside Wright's house. "Ever since the hearing in Washington."
"I think he might have gotten frightened," said Gallagher.
Retired FBI Agent R. J. Gallagher, whom "48 Hours" brought to Portugal, says if they can't get him back, the idea of George Wright running scared is fine with him.
"Living on the lam again ... and looking over his shoulder he's waiting for the shoe to drop," Gallagher said. "I don't think he should feel comfortable - ever."
Whether or not the past still haunts George Wright, Ann Patterson refuses to let it haunt her anymore.
"A lot of times I would think, 'What would daddy want me to do?' He would not want me to sit in a corner crying until death overtook me," Ann said. "If I had life, I should live it and live it the best way I can."
"If your father had lived, he would have been 92 years old. What do you think he would think as far as how you've all turned out?" Spencer asked Ann.
"I think he would be proud of us," she replied.
"And specifically of you?"
"I hope so."
The Justice Department says it did not pursue further appeals in this case.
© 2012 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.