By Kevin Williams
Authorities in Michigan are spinning a rather fantastical tale about the possibility of a murderer from their area hiding out among the Amish in Maine. Sounds like something straight out of a fiction novel or a movie script. Let’s examine the possibility.
If someone convicted of a crime were to join an Amish community I’m not sure Maine would be the place to do it. Yes, it is true that the settlements near Smyrna and Unity are more open to outsiders. They even have a church building and services in English. But it’s also that very openness that would make it hard to hide. The communities are very small so a fugitive spinning a yard would stand-out more. On the other hand, in this case the alleged fugitive is a 67-year-old man who might come across as harmless to most. And I have seen first-hand outsiders approach the Maine Amish with the desire to learn more about their life and possibly join and they’ve been welcomed. That said, the settlements are so small that all it would take is one visit from law enforcement to spread around a flyer and the guy would be immediately exposed.
So, if you are going to be a fugitive and hide out among the Amish, choose a large sprawling Amish community where people come and go a lot more. You’d be far less likely to attract attention.