The Arizona Republic

Arizona fugitive Brown removed from FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list

- Anne Ryman Reach the reporter at anne.ryman@arizonarep­ or 602444-8072. Follow her on Twitter @anneryman.

It was the Monday after Thanksgivi­ng 2004.

Robert Keith Palomares, a 24-yearold armored-car guard, had just picked up the weekend deposits at a Phoenix movie theater.

But before he could get into the secure vehicle, a masked shooter jumped from behind a ticket booth at the AMC Ahwatukee 24 theaters. The shooter ambushed and shot Palomares five times in the head. Then he grabbed the money bag full of $56,000 and fled on a mountain bike.

The brazen, execution-style crime shocked the Valley.

The FBI believes the man responsibl­e for the November 29 killing was Jason Derek Brown, a 38-year-old California transplant with surfer-boy good looks.

Police say Brown fled Arizona in his BMW before switching out the vehicle for a Cadillac Escalade he kept at a Las Vegas storage facility. He was then spotted in Orange County, California, and headed toward Mexico before veering north. A few months later, Oregon authoritie­s found his Escalade in a long-term parking lot at Portland Internatio­nal Airport.

Brown had vanished.

He faces charges of first-degree murder, armed robbery and unlawful flight to avoid prosecutio­n.

A few years after the murder, in 2007, he was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list and profiled on true-crime shows like America’s Most Wanted. But after about 15 years on the list, the FBI took Brown off the Ten Most Wanted list a few months ago and replaced him with another alleged criminal.

One criteria for the “top 10” list is that publicity will help locate and capture the suspect. Brooke Brennan, a spokeswoma­n with the FBI, said in an email that Brown was removed from the top list on September 7. Extensive investigat­ion, as well as continued media exposure, has not establishe­d his whereabout­s or led to his arrest, she said. His continued placement on the top ten list was not expected to result in informatio­n that would lead to his capture.

“Although Jason Derek Brown was removed from the ‘top ten’ list, the active investigat­ion will continue in order to bring closure to the families,” she said.

Palomares’ mother, Lina Rodriguez, in an interview with The Arizona Republic a few years after the murder, said her son was working for an armored-car company to gain experience to become a police officer. He was originally from Indio, California. She described him as a loving son who liked to do impersonat­ions.

“I miss him so much,” she said in a 2006 interview. “I can still hear his voice.”

Brown is the second Arizona fugitive to be removed from the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list in less than a year. In August, the FBI removed Arizona fugitive Robert Fisher, who has been missing for 20 years. Fisher is accused of accused of killing his wife and two children and blowing up their Scottsdale home in 2001.

Fisher would be 61 years old, if he is still alive. But many of his friends have speculated that he may have died in the forest east of Payson, where he fled in the days after the murders.

In Brown’s case, he would be 53, if still alive.

At the time he went missing, acquaintan­ces told FBI agents that Brown spent a great deal of time at bars and nightclubs. He liked to water and snow ski. He was known to be a big spender who loved a lavish lifestyle. His possession­s included expensive cars, boats, motorcycle­s, jet skis and all-terrain vehicles.

He speaks fluent French and has a master’s degree in internatio­nal business.

He had ties to California, Arizona and Salt Lake City, Utah. Before his disappeara­nce, he was known to have traveled to France and Mexico.

Anyone with informatio­n about Brown is asked to contact their local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.

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