Portuguese Fugitive Who Lived In Caves Captured After 16 Years

cavemanManuel Cruz, a 54-year-old escaped murderer was captured in Vieira do Minho, Portugal, after spending 16 years on the run, most of which he spent living in caves.

According to police, Cruz had a deep tan, a long beard and looked like “Robinson Crusoe”, testament to his life on the lam.

Police reported that Cruz, had a deep tan, a long beard and resembled “Robinson Crusoe” when they found him. They also said that he had a guard dog and a pistol, and that he was initially aggressive when approached, but that he went peacefully without using his gun.

Cruz’s contact with the outside world was limited to occasional meetings with friends and family, who brought him food and medicine, and a battery powered radio.

Chief Inspector Carlos Gomes, describes Cruz’s life on the run:

Since his escape, he hid out and lived in three or four caves in the region, which he knew well. He fed himself on fruits and had never seen a doctor, but he seemed to us to be in good health.

The operation to capture Cruz, dubbed Operation Cro-Magnon, was initiated two years ago after someone reported to police that he was hiding in the hills near his home. He has since been returned to jail to serve out the remaining 7 1/2 years of his sentence.

The murder conviction stemmed from an argument with a local woman over goats. Cruz allegedly pushed the woman, who then hit her head on a rock and died.

According to one family member:

He was a quiet person, he wouldn’t hurt anyone. People liked him. He told people he was afraid of prison and wouldn’t go back there.



C.S. Magor is the editor-in-chief and a reporter at large for We Interrupt and Uberreview. He currently resides in the Japanese countryside approximately two hours from Tokyo - where he has spent the better part of a decade testing his hypothesis that Japan is neither as quirky nor as interesting as others would have you believe.
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