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Dead fugitive from central Indiana defrauded hundreds

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The son of an Indiana fugitive who apparently killed himself rather than surrendering to Oregon authorities last week said his father never once reached out after disappearing 12 years ago. The man, he said, has been dead to him for years.

Brian Ferguson told The Herald Bulletin of Anderson for a story published Friday that the FBI hadn't called him to confirm if the man killed was his father, but that he has already learned to deal with losing him.

"I had no idea where he was or if he was even alive," Ferguson said. "I had to create my own closure. He just vanished. No goodbye, nothing."

Oregon authorities say 62-year-old Phillip Ferguson died last week from a gunshot wound to the head soon after fleeing from two officers and an FBI agent who were tipped off about his presence. The confrontation happened in a remote area near Burns, Ore., where Ferguson was apparently farming alfalfa under the name Vernon Cox.

Ferguson vanished in 2000 while his Marion investment business was under a federal investigation. He was later charged with 90 counts of securities violations and accused of bilking more than 600 investors out of $30 million.

Phillip Ferguson's case had been featured on "America's Most Wanted."

Brad Skolnik, who was the Indiana securities commissioner back in 2000, said most of Ferguson's victims were elderly people who thought they were putting their money in safe investments. Many of his victims were from central Indiana, including Alexandria, where Ferguson grew up.

Brian Ferguson said he believed the same thing that caused his dad to run caused him to shoot himself — pride.

"He grew up in a small town," Ferguson said. "He did something he shouldn't have done, so he left. That's the only way I can fathom this happening. He left his family, his grandkids and didn't tell anyone. He just vanished. Who can stay away that long? What kind of a person could do that?"

Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings said fingerprint comparisons confirmed the identification of Phillip Ferguson.

An autopsy found he died Wednesday from a single gunshot wound to the head from a small-caliber weapon. Hastings said initial evidence indicated it was unlikely that shots fired by the Harney County sheriff and a sergeant hit Ferguson as he fled in a pickup.

Hastings told The Oregonian on Friday that the Harney County district attorney asked him not to disclose if Ferguson shot himself.

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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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