Recalling Richard McNair Escape in 2006


Eight  years ago convicted murderer Richard McNair escaped from the federal maximum security prison in Pollock, Louisiana by burying himself under mail bags in a mail truck.

He later escaped and was stopped by Ball policeman Carl Bordelon when he is seen on a railroad track.

Bordelon fails to notice that McNair identifies himself with two different names at different points in the questioning. He first identifies himself as Robert Jones but later says his name is Jimmy Jones.

He mentions a motel the Titus Inn that doesn’t exist and the officer should have followed up on that. McNair also tells the officer to call his brother. It makes me wonder what would have happened if Bordelon had asked for his brother’s number since McNair almost surely didn’ t have a number to give him.

It is amazing the officer didn’t hold him till they contacted the federal prison authorities in Pollock who could have driven to Ball, Louisiana in a very short time and could have identified McNair.

Bordelon jokes with McNair that the bad thing about it is that McNair is matching up to the description of the the escapee. It is also strange that Bordelon didn’t pick up on the fact that McNair said he was a roofer which is highly unlikely considering he was wearing shorts at the time.

It seems like Bordelon would have known a roofer wouldn’t be scratching his knees up without using knee pads of some kind.

He even tells McNair to bring some ID the next time he jogs on the track so if he gets ran over by a train he will know who he is. He tells McNair he knows he is not the escapee since if he was he would have ran by then.

It is still a mystery to me why Bordelon didn’t have backup in a case involving a convicted murderer on the loose. This may be a far out theory but wonder if Bordelon did have a feeling he was the escapee but knowing he had murdered in the past was afraid of trying to cuff him and have his gun taken away by McNair since he had no backup with him.

If Bordelon had brought him to the Ball police station McNair surely would have been identified. His failure to capture McNair resulted in McNair being on the loose for the next 18 months before being captured in New Brunswick province of Canada on October 25, 2007.

I can still remember the helicopters searching for McNair after the failed capture by Bordelon.

He was once said to be in the area of Ball where I was working in a group home with seven mentally challenged clients. Working there till 12:30 in the morning it was disconcerting to say the least knowing a convicted killer could be on the loose in that area.

The thing that worried me the most was the safety of the clients and the reaction  they would have had toward someone like McNair if he held all of us hostage.

I am sure Bordelon would have reacted better when confronting McNair if he had backup to support him and to pick up on some clues that McNair was lying through his teeth about his working for the roofing company, the jogging on the railroad track, naming a non-existent motel and giving himself two different names.

Worst of all Bordelon told McNair to call 911 if he should see the escapee.

This article details his escape and eventual capture in Canada 18 months later:

Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

6 thoughts on “Recalling Richard McNair Escape in 2006”

  1. My opinion is that Bordelon did the best he could under the situation but was afraid for his own safety and when he saw no backup was coming let McNair walk even if he knew he was the escapee to prevent a physical confrontation that could have resulted in him being injured or killed.

    Ball policemen are more used to flagging down speeders than encountering convicted killer prison escapees in a one on one situation.

    I am sure Carl Bordelon did the best he could under the circumstances and I don’t think he should take the blame alone for letting McNair run free for the next 18 months before being captured in Canada.

      1. It’s interesting to hear what Bordelon had to say about the meeting, and I was surprised to hear that McNair — the killer — defended Bordelon. I mentioned this to Bordelon in his office and his response was that “I hope he’s sincere.”

        When I first saw Bordelon — sitting on a chair in the Mayor’s office — he was one of the saddest-looking people I’d met. No exaggeration. He didn’t want to be interviewed, not unless he was paid. I said that wasn’t going to happen, and he waved off the interview the way an umpire would indicate a runner was safe at home plate. I asked if he would respond to one question: some people say he knew all along it was McNair on the tracks and he was too afraid to confront him. His response was so animated that he began to talk and didn’t stop talking for nearly 2 hours.

        At the end of the interview he said, “You’re an interesting guy …” Fact is, I hadn’t said a whole lot. He just got a lot off his chest. We met next day, had a second interview in his office and drove out to the tracks where his life had been turned upside down. Another great talk. Our meeting ended with a handshake. He was getting into his cruiser and I was getting into my rental, about to head off to do more interviews. Bordelon smiled, what a changed man he was.

        When the book on McNair came out [The Man Who Mailed Himself Out of Jail] Bordelon bought a copy and phoned looking for a signed copy of the cover of the book. I said what the hell are you going to do with that? He said I’m going to frame it and put it on the wall so my grandkids can see it.

      2. I am amazed at the information you gathered on Richard McNair and Carl Bordelon. I too had thought that maybe Officer Bordelon knew that the jogger was Richard McNair, but didn’t want to arrest him, since he was alone knowing that McNair was a murderer.

        When McNair was still on the run there were some rumors, that he was in the same area I was working in. I was working in a group home of mentally challenged men, and was wondering what they would do, if McNair were to enter the home.

        I have often wondered why Bordelon didn’t hold McNair at the Ball Police Station, at least until they call the prison, and have someone drive the 17 miles or so to Ball, to identify McNair before releasing him. I don’t know what the law is in that case, but if they held him for a half an hour it would have been long enough to identify McNair.

        You have shared by far the most information on McNair-Bordelon I have read in any forum. I appreciate you sharing this information. As you can see I had very little information on the escape.

        If I remember right McNair gave two different names, but it wasn’t noticed by Bordelon. And McNair mentioned Titusville, when it was really Pineville. There is no Titusville in Louisiana that I know of. Surprised Bordelon believed that roofer story. McNair bought himself a lot of time. Think it was months before he was later apprehended. I felt bad for Bordelon, and he seems to have followed usual procedure, when there is little information from the prison. Just my opinion, but I think the prison was more at fault than Bordelon, even though he didn’t pick up on some wrong information given by McNair.
        Thank you again for sharing….Andrew

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