Discarded Letter and Suspicious Maid Lead to Fugitive’s Arrest After TV Show

Associated Press

A discarded letter that aroused a motel maid’s suspicions led to the arrest Wednesday of a fugitive whose case was featured last month on the television program “Unsolved Mysteries,” authorities said.

Steven Cox, wanted for allegedly bilking investors out of about $3.5 million in Oregon in 1984, was arrested by National Park Service rangers after they were tipped by a maid who had cleaned the fugitive’s room at a motel on the shore of Lake Mead, said chief ranger Newton Sikes.

“She found a discarded piece of paper, apparently a letter he had written to someone and then thrown away, while cleaning the room,” Sikes said. “She noticed it had a phrase in it saying, ‘The Unsolved Mysteries program was a bombshell.’ ”

Sikes said the maid notified park rangers, who went to the room at the Lake Mead Lodge Wednesday morning and found the man gone. They went into nearby Boulder City and spotted his car at a restaurant, where he was apparently having breakfast, he said.


Sikes said he didn’t know if the maid, whom he didn’t identify, had watched the television program.

Cox, 38, disappeared from Medford, Ore., in 1984 with the contents of the safe of his S.D. Cox Investments Inc.

Hundreds of investors claimed they lost a total of $3.5 million through Cox, who promised high returns on real estate.

After the TV show aired Nov. 30 on NBC, FBI agents tracked Cox to Boise, Ida., where he was living as Robert Bradley Davis, a coin and baseball card dealer.

Friends in Boise said Cox drove into town three years ago in an old car with a few boxes of jewelry for sale. He recently opened a baseball card store there.

He was married in Boise and, the morning before the TV show aired, told his wife he had to fly to Hawaii due to a death in the family. He later called and said some people were after him about some money and he would never be able to come back.