Even though his alleged crimes were dramatized on a national TV show, Steven Ray Allen is no closer to being arrested on murder charges, and authorities are saying he may never be brought to justice.
Assistant Utah Attorney General Robert N. Parrish said Wednesday that although authorities received almost 400 leads after Allen was featured on "America's Most Wanted" two weeks ago, none of them have panned out."A show like America's Most Wanted gets a lot of law enforcement people interested around the country," Parrish said. "But that only lasts for a week."
Allen is accused 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 is charged with three counts of child abuse and one count of second-degree criminal homicide.
The program, aired locally on Channel 13, featured Utah Attorney General Paul Van Dam talking about the 41-year-old Allen, who has eluded officers for almost two years. Viewers were asked to call a number if they had seen Allen.
The circumstances of the boy's death were dramatized on the program, and afterward Assistant Utah Attorney General Mike Hines took phone calls from viewers.
Parrish said the FBI located one suspect in New Mexico, and investigators believed they might have found their man. But fingerprints showed the man was not Allen.
In addition, Parrish said, photos and other identifying information about Allen have been sent to sheepmen's and cattlemen's organizations because Allen is known to have associated with such groups in the past. He said America's Most Wanted may also do a follow-up on Allen, and that may generate more phone calls.
But Parrish said his fear is that Allen, who is reputed to be something of a "mountain man," may have headed for the backwoods and may simply hide out until the heat's off.
Allen "claimed he was leaving and going into the mountains," Parrish said. "But he didn't take any trapping gear. Still, it's possible he's really hiding out, and those kinds of people who don't want to be found and have the survival skills are the most difficult to find."
He said investigators will make periodic checks on Allen, but without some new leads the case will essentially be placed on the back burner. Barring some sort of lucky break - such as Allen being pulled over on a routine traffic stop or arrested for some other reason - chances are he won't be apprehended.
Parrish said Allen can't even be tried in absentia because he hasn't yet been arrested and arraigned.
"We've tried everything we know," Parrish said. "If something like America's Most wanted doesn't get leads, catching him is almost a matter of a lucky coincidence."