PHOENIX — Is he still wanted — or not?
Days after the arrest of a fugitive who had escaped from a prison work detail in Iowa in 1981, an alternative narrative has emerged.
Charles Leroy Cagley, 68, was arrested by Prescott Valley Police Department detectives this week, soon after the FBI notified the department about Cagley's fugitive status.
But Cagley's wife, 62-year-old Virginia Cagley, said she was stunned when police arrived at their home because an Iowa official had said in 2005 the state no longer was interested in pursuing him.
"I'm in shock, because as far as we knew all of this had been taken care of," she said. "He's done nothing wrong in all these years. We have four kids and we minded our own business."
Charles Cagley had been living in Yavapai County since about 2004 and receiving disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Prescott Valley police said. Cagley had fought in Vietnam.
Virginia Cagley said her husband was found to be permanently disabled by Veterans Affairs in 2006 as the result of post-traumatic stress disorder. He has been treated by the VA since 2004, she said.
"He had to go to Phoenix and get a letter sent to the (VA) stating that Iowa no longer wanted him and there was no warrant," Virginia Cagley said.
She said a warden in the Iowa Department of Corrections sent a letter at the time that stated Cagley no longer was wanted by the state.
Virginia Cagley emailed The Arizona Republic a copy of a letter dated Jan. 13, 2006, that appears to be sent from the Iowa Department of Corrections and is addressed to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"Upon learning that Charles Cagley could be located in Prescott, Arizona, the decision was made ... to withdraw the Iowa warrant," the letter reads. "Iowa no longer has ... interest in pursuing a warrant nor custody of Charles Cagley."
Officials at the Iowa Department of Corrections were not immediately available for comment.
Prescott Valley police detectives confirmed Cagley was wanted under a felony extraditable warrant, and he was arrested without incident Tuesday and booked into the Yavapai County Jail, the police statement said.
Police said Cagley was convicted of second-degree robbery and imprisoned in Iowa in 1981. He was scheduled for release on July 5, 1983.
Cagley told Prescott Valley police he escaped from Iowa's Newton Correctional Facility in 1981 while on a minimum security work detail, according to the police statement. He told police he's "been on the lam ever since."
Cagley will be extradited back to Iowa.