Members of the U.S. Marshals Western District of Arkansas Task Force have executed and assisted in high-profile arrests with ties to the region this week.
Task Force members on July 8 arrested Matthew Holleran in Crawford County on multiple charges out of Missouri and Arizona after he had eluded law enforcement for four years. They also investigated and ultimately coordinated the Wednesday arrest of Chad and Stephanie Voelkel, who had fled to Canada after Chad Voelkel had bonded out of the Polk County jail from a rape charge, and also helped locate four of their children.
"A lot of times, we work cases, and some of them move quickly," said Task Force Supervisory Deputy Sean Coyne. "An arrest is made in a couple of days — maybe one day, maybe a week. It could take months to find some. These two were worked simultaneously, and it just happened to fall within a couple of days of each other."
Jumping through hoops
Capturing Holleran required extensive planning by the U.S. Marshals.
Holleran, who was wanted in St. Louis on suspicion of felony unlawful possession of a firearm, Camdenton, Missouri, on suspicion of felony resisting arrest and assaulting law enforcement officers and Maricopa County, Arizona, on suspicion of theft, was arrested around 11:40 p.m. Monday on Lamb Road in Crawford County after authorities located him in Alma. Because Holleran had eluded law enforcement since 2015 — including a suspected flight to Mexico — the Task Force did extra research, including studying his escape patterns in planning his arrest, Coyne said.
Coyne said Holleran weeks prior to his capture in Crawford County had eluded U.S. marshals in St. Louis by putting up safeguards in his house such as reinforced doors — safeguards he said "normal people don't usually do unless they've got a reason to do it."
Marshals' investigation in preparation for Holleran's arrest included reviewing surveillance and following up on information received from Missouri. Marshals through their investigation determined Holleran's location and confirmed his identity, Coyne said.
"If we had a case with someone who didn’t have a history like Holleran did, I don’t know if we would have jumped through many hoops, but on this one, we jumped through a lot of hoops, because he had gotten away in the past," Coyne said. "We had to come up with a plan that minimized risk to the public and to ourselves."
Requesting assistance from Canadian law enforcement officials paid off in the arrest of Chad and Stephanie Voelkel, who are allegedly responsible for the sexual abuse of one of their children.
A failure to appear warrant was issued for Chad Voelkel on May 23 out of Polk County after he didn't show up to his court date that was issued for a rape charge. He was arrested on Wednesday afternoon in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada. He was arrested with his wife, Stephanie, who was charged with felony permitting abuse of a minor after she allegedly allowed her husband to rape one of their children.
The Voelkels had reportedly fled to Canada with four of their children, excluding the child who was allegedly raped — an aspect of their flight that ultimately bolstered marshals' request for assistance.
Marshals determined the Voelkels were in Canada "about three or four days" after Polk County authorities reached out to them through executed warrants and confirmation through Canada Border Service agents, Coyne said. This led to their request for assistance, which Coyne said smoothed over diplomatic issues that arise when tracking fugitives in other countries.
Task force members had to send a request through the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., with assistance from Western District Attorney Duane "DAK" Kees.
"Since you’re dealing with two different countries, it may not always be fast, but in this case, I think it actually went rather quickly," Coyne said.
The Voelkels were arrested on Wednesday afternoon after Border Service agents and Royal Canadian Mounted Police were notified about the situation. The children were safely recovered, according to a U.S. Marshals Service news release.
"We put the request in, and once we did, the Canadian government was wonderful to deal with."