Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Colton Harris-Moore, Tale of a Teenage Outlaw

Into the Wild

Neighbors say they called Child Protective Services numerous times when Colton Harris-Moore was younger, worrying that the boy was being abused or neglected. "The kid needs help. He's screaming for it," one neighbor told The Seattle Times in February 2007.

Gordon Moore eventually left his son's life when the boy was 12 years old. Moore showed up at a family barbecue that ended with police chasing him through the woods on outstanding warrants.

Colton Harris-Moore
Colton Harris-Moore
Like his father, Colton Harris-Moore has led police on chases through dense Camano Island forests to avoid arrest. Not only has Harris-Moore run through the woods to escape police, however: he's been willing to live there.

Pam Kohler moved to Camano Island 24 years ago, buying five wooded acres while working at the National Park Service's offices in Seattle. She lives in a single-wide trailer with old, rusted autos on the lawn and a "NO TRESPASSING" sign posted on her property. Kohler and Harris-Moore's home sits on the south side of the island, which is served by a two-lane looping road and dirt access roads that jut into the woods. The transition between civilization and the woods is seamless in this rustic area and has helped Colton escape police despite numerous close calls.

After his mother persuaded him to surrender to police at the vacant neighbor's home in February 2007, Colton Harris-Moore pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary. He was 16 years old and sentenced to three years in a detention center.

After serving part of his sentence with time off for good behavior, Harris-Moore was transferred to a minimum-security halfway house called Griffin Home in Renton, Wash. That good behavior did not last.

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