An anti-abortion extremist who is also one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted has allegedly threatened to kill 42 abortion clinic workers unless they notify him through the Internet that they have quit their jobs.
Clayton Waagner, 45, escaped from an Illinois jail in February while waiting to be sentenced for possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a stolen vehicle, according the U.S. Marshal Service.
Since his escape, the FBI says Waagner has gone on a cross-country crime spree, which includes acts of bank robbery, car jacking and illegal possession of firearms and a bomb.
On Friday, the fugitive allegedly paid a visit to the Carrollton, Georgia, home of Neal Horsley, who operates several anti-abortion websites, including the controversial Nuremberg Files, which publishes detailed personal information about clinic workers. The Nuremberg Files has been called a “hit list” by critics.
Horsley said he didn’t recognize Waagner when, shortly after noon on Friday, he rang the doorbell of his house, shook his hand, and said he admired Horsley’s websites. Waagner left but returned an hour later, flashed a large firearm and identified himself by name.
“When I turned around and saw him in my home again, brandishing a weapon, I was initially very shocked; but when I realized who it was, I didn’t feel threatened,” said Horsley, who added that Waagner had tracked him down using a laptop equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) software.
For the next hour and a half, Waagner allegedly laid out his murderous plans, saying he intended to kill 42 unspecified clinic workers unless they provide information that they have quit their jobs through Horsley’s Christian Gallery website.
Horsley said he didn’t know why Waagner chose 42 as the number of people he allegedly intends to kill.
Horsley recorded Waagner’s threats and published portions of them on the Web. He gave a copy of the tape to law enforcement officials and plans to stream portions of Waagner’s warning online.
“I’m coming. There’s doubt about it,” Waagner allegedly said, addressing clinic workers. “Well, I’m giving you a chance to quit. If you don’t, then I am going to kill you.”
According to the transcripts, Waagner said he would target rank-and-file clinic workers, such as janitors and receptionists, because they were less protected than the doctors.
“I have a list of 42, and this is to that 42: I know where you live; I know what you drive; I actually don’t know all your names, but I’ve got your car license and I’ve followed you home, so I’ve got your street address…. Obviously, I won’t tell who’s on my list because that’s the beauty of it.”
Pressed to give more detailed information about his targets, Waagner allegedly responded that “the Holy Spirit will tell them” who they are, and they should e-mail Horsley with their state of residence, the first letter or number of their car license plate, and the first letter or number of their home address.
Waagner said he’d check the page set up by Horsley regularly to see if names had been added. (There were none as of Wednesday afternoon.)
The fugitive also purportedly claimed responsibility for mailing hundreds of anthrax hoax letters to abortion clinics around the country and showed Horsley a stack of Fed Ex receipts for the threats. Horsley said he also pulled out several sheaths of hundred dollar bills totaling $100,000, which he said he’d robbed from banks, as well as dozens of fake driver’s licenses. (According to FBI data, Waagner uses more than 50 aliases.)
Horsley said Waagner tied him up with duct tape before he left and that he called 911 when he freed himself to alert law enforcement of the visit.
Asked whether he believed Waagner would make good on his threat, Horsley said: “I believe that he fully expects to be killed trying to shut down the abortion clinics.”
The writer of the post, who identified himself as Waagner, described how he escaped from jail and claimed he was “anointed and called to be God’s Warrior…. He freed me that I might lay down my life for His Will.” The writer also said he had access to personal data about clinic workers, including names and home addresses, that he had “hidden” around the Internet before his arrest.
Representatives from the FBI and the U.S. Marshal Service confirmed that both agencies are following the case, but refused to give details about the investigation.
“We’re tying to confirm that Waagner was indeed at Horsley’s house,” said FBI special agent Bill Crowley, adding that the agency was alerting clinics across the country about Waagner’s renewed threats.
Planned Parenthood Federation clinics have posted Waagner’s photo in their facilities and beefed up safety measures, said Ann Glazier, the federation’s director of security.
“We have always taken any kind of threat seriously,” said Glazier, who counsels 900 clinics on anti-violence efforts. “What we haven’t done is closed our business or had employees quit or leave.”
The National Abortion Federation, which oversees 400 family planning clinics, also tightened security, while federation leaders wait to hear from law enforcement if Horsley’s story is credible.
“We’re not going to be terrorized out of providing women with reproductive health care services,” said Executive Director Vicki Saporta.
Waagner has a lengthy arrest record dating back to the 1970s, which includes robbery and felony possession of fire arms, according to press reports.
The North Dakota native was arrested in Illinois in 1999. After a routine traffic stop, the Winnebago he was driving with his wife and eight children was found to be stolen, as were four handguns found in the vehicle. A federal jury in Illinois convicted Waagner on the firearm and stolen vehicle charges.
During his trial, Waagner testified that he had carried out surveillance on abortion clinics for months and had acquired weapons after God asked him to “be my warrior” and kill doctors who provide abortions.