Friday, Jan. 12, 2001 | 11:23 a.m.
Maghfoor Mansoor, 34, remained at large Wednesday. He had disappeared into woods along the Mississippi River and managed to elude FBI agents, state troopers and parish deputies Tuesday afternoon.
Mansoor was convicted in 1996 of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl. He is also wanted by the FBI for fleeing while being prosecuted for sexually assaulting and kidnapping a 17-year-old girl at gunpoint in Las Vegas.
Mansoor is a man of many identities. Because he has at least five aliases, authorities are unsure of his real name, age and nationality. He is known to frequent casinos and often carries large quantities of cash, police said.
Mansoor was wearing a wig Wednesday when he used the alias Francis Gabriel and stolen Italian identification to buy an airplane ticket to Los Angeles at the New Orleans International Airport, said special agent Charles Matthew's III of the FBI.
The pursuit of Mansoor began about 12:45 p.m. Tuesday when an undercover detective tried to detain him at a ticket counter in the airport, said Col. Robert Garner, a Jefferson Parish sheriff's spokesman. Mansoor punched the detective, jumped about 15 feet off a concrete ramp and carjacked a pickup truck, Garner said.
Mansoor drove the truck through a ticket booth barricade and fled the scene at speeds approaching 100 miles per hour, police said.
About 30 minutes later, St. Charles Parish sheriff's deputies spotted the truck and gave chase near the line between St. Charles and Jefferson parishes.
Witnesses said squad cars were closing in on the truck when it skidded out of control, went off the road and hit Leroy Williams, a state Department of Transportation employee for 28 years. Moments later, Williams, 49, of Kenner, was dead.
Mansoor ran from the truck and disappeared into the thicket, police said.
About 80 police on foot, on horseback and in helicopters searched the wooded area late into the night without success. The FBI and U.S. Customs and immigration officials joined the search on Wednesday morning.
A second-degree murder warrant was issued Wednesday for Monsoor's arrest. Garner said authorities can prosecute the case as a homicide because Williams was killed during the commission of a felony.