A nationally televised show has generated almost 400 leads on the whereabouts of a Moab man accused of killing a 3-year-old boy, officials said.
But the man looks so much like a typical vagrant that most of the leads have been discounted."America's Most Wanted," a show aired locally on Channel 13 last Sunday, featured Utah Attorney General Paul Van Dam talking about Steven Ray Allen, a 41-year-old who has eluded officers for almost two years. Viewers were asked to call a number if they had seen Allen.
While the show aired, Assistant Attorney General Mike Hines was in a Washington, D.C., television studio monitoring phone calls from viewers. Calls have continued every day since then, he said.
"They've come in all the way from Newark, N.J., to San Diego," Hines said.
Only a few of the callers have given vital characteristics of Allen that were deliberately not broadcast, Hines said.
"There aren't many characteristics that are unique to him (Allen)," he said. "But if he talks to people and tells them certain things - those are clues we're looking for."
Hines and FBI officials are tracking the leads, hoping to at least lure Allen out of hiding. Most of the calls have come from Utah.
Allen is described as about 5 feet 9 inches with a scruffy gray beard and wearing a dirty baseball cap. Hines said the description matches any of thousands of people on the streets of virtually all large cities.
"My suspicion is that Steven Ray Allen is living with some woman and her family," Hines said, adding he is hoping for a call from the person Allen is living with.
Allen is suspected of beating a 3-year-old boy repeatedly over a period of several months, fracturing 12 of the child's ribs. The boy died, and the medical examiner who performed the autopsy said the death was caused by the injuries.
Allen has been missing for 20 months. Authorities said he is wanted on three counts of child abuse and one count of second-degree criminal homicide.
Officials say they worry most about the safety of any children Hines may be living with.
A statement issued by the attorney general's office said Allen has been heard to say he does not want to be taken alive. He allegedly has a violent temper and is skilled with the use of firearms.
State officials said they may go back on the air for more help. Viewers' memories tend to last no longer than until the show's next episode.
"If we develop any leads that we feel will flush him (Allen) out, we'll go back again to Washington and update the show," Hines said, adding the producers said they would oblige.