National Fugitive Arrested in Medford After Six-Year Manhunt

The United States Marshals Service led Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force (PNVOTF) tracked down and arrested a South Carolina murder suspect on Lincoln Street in Medford yesterday afternoon, putting an end to the man’s six-year run from the law. U.S. Marshals along with Central Point Police Department (CPPD) arrested the fugitive, John Tufton Blauvelt, 33, following a lead provided by a cold case team of investigators at the U.S. Marshal’s headquarters in Arlington, Va.Medford Police Department (MPD) assisted with the investigation. Blauvelt is being held in the Jackson County Jail pending extradition to South Carolina to face the charges against him.

Blauvelt is wanted in connection with the murder of his estranged wife, Catherine “Cati” Blauvelt, who was found stabbed to death in an abandoned home inSimpsonville, S.C., on October 26, 2016. Cati had been reported missing by her family the previous day after failing to meet with her friends after work. On Nov. 18, 2016, Simpsonville Police obtained warrants for Blauvelt’s arrest for murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Blauvelt worked as a U.S. Army recruiter in Greenville County at the time of the murder but was classified by the Army as a deserter shortly thereafter. Shortly after the murder, Blauvelt fled the area with his 17-year-old girlfriend Hannah Thompson, of Fountain Inn, S.C. Thompson’s parents reported the teen missing to the Fountain Inn Police Department on Nov. 21, 2016. Blauvelt had last been seen in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Nov. 15, 2016, traveling with a female passenger police said they believe was Thompson.

After the U.S. Marshals joined the search to find Blauvelt, they learned he and Thompson had traveled through Alabama, Texas and California. Thompson was found safe in Oregon on Dec. 12, 2016, having been abandoned by Blauvelt. She went to a family friend’s home in Eugene and called her parents, saying she wanted to come home. She and Blauvelt had been homeless while in Oregon.

In early 2022, a U.S. Marshals dedicated cold and complex case investigative team joined the investigation for Blauvelt. Working closely with investigators from the District of South Carolina, the Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force, as well as Simpsonville Police detectives and the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the team was able to put Blauvelt in Medford. PNVOTF committed numerous personnel and hours to the investigation. Ultimately, investigators there, working with MPD and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, located Blauvelt, who had assumed the alias “Ben Klein,” and took him into custody without incident. 

“We are glad this offender is in custody and the process can begin to seek justice for the victim and her family,” said Sheriff Nathan Sickler. “The work of this local violent offender task force is extremely important to the safety of our community, and we are proud of their efforts and our continued partnerships.”

PNVOTF includes personnel from the U.S. Marshals, JCSO, and CPPD. The task force specializes in locating and arresting fugitives wanted for offenses including, but not limited to, murder, assault, sex crimes, failure to register as a sex offender, firearm violations, and probation violations.

Established in 1985, the U.S. Marshals Major Case Fugitive Program prioritizes the investigation and apprehension of high-profile offenders considered to be some of the country’s most dangerous. These individuals tend to be career criminals with histories of violence or whose instant offense(s) poses a significant threat to public safety.