A 26-year-old-man, Travis A. Nicolaysen, who has for some time eluded police hunt, has been updating his Facebook page regularly, police authorities say. Travis escaped two foot chases involving police dogs on Wednesday in a Port Angeles neighborhood.
The Washington Post reports that the man who, apparently decoyed the police dogs with a bandanna he was wearing, was convicted of five felonies. ABC News reports he was accused of assaulting his girlfriend, burglary and theft of a firearm. He is also wanted by the Washington State Department of Corrections for failing to report to his community corrections officer since January.
According to The Washington Post, a friend of Nicolaysen posted a message on his Facebook page on his first day on the run. The message said: “Cops all over you.” Nicolaysen answered: “Ya got away thanks bro.”
A second post from a friend warned him to take care while another pleaded with him to surrender for the sake of his children. The friend said: “You’re not getting any younger and you’re looking at a lot of time." The Washington Post reports there is a picture on his Facebook page that shows Nicolaysen with two toddlers.
On Saturday, the fugitive changed his relationship status to single.
But Nicolaysen and his friends are not the only ones taking interest in his Facebook page and its updates. The police, since they discovered he was updating his page, have been checking regularly for the latest news. According to Deputy police chief Brian Smith: “We’re used to pinging databases and sources of information. It’s normal for us to look at Facebook accounts.”
Smith also commented on the conversation between Nicolaysen and his friends on Facebook, saying: “I don’t think it’s going to make it any easier for him."
ABC News reports that Facebook informs its users that it may share certain information about users with the law enforcement and that it can track users using their IP addresses and GPS locations.
The police have said, however, that they are not yet considering serving Facebook with a search warrant. They are hoping that the publicity his case is getting will help to flush him out. The police believe he is hiding in Port Angeles, a small city with a population of 19,000, 65 miles northwest of Seattle.
Police officer Smith, said: “In a smaller community, it’s harder to disappear and be anonymous. We’re hoping people who know him call police. People are giving him advice to surrender, and he might want to follow it.”
But in what appears an insight into the story and the circumstances in which he has been able to elude the police, a woman, Teri Newell, who claims she is the aunt of Nicolaysen praised him for outsmarting the police. The Washington Post reports that the lady, who confirmed that the Facebook account was Nicolaysen's, said: “I think it’s hilarious. That’s my boy, Travis! Every single time he gets out of jail, he doesn’t check in. If he’s smart, he’s hidden away, tucked away safe."
Newell denied having any information on Nicolaysen's whereabouts, but she complained that the police are heavy-handed. Robert Vienneau, a Port Angeles attorney, also seemed to have some sympathy for the fugitive. He said: “Travis comes from a rough background, but he’s got a good heart."
It seems the police may have trouble finding Nicolaysen if the entire Port Angeles community agree with Newell and Vienneau.