Escape, Deception, and Murder: Fugitive Felon Arrested After Four-Year Manhunt

NEWPORT BEACH, California – Tyler Adams, a fugitive felon who was on the run for four years, has been apprehended in Newport Beach, California. Adams, 51, is set to be extradited to Hawaii, where he escaped state custody in 2019.

Adams had been serving time in Hawaii for stealing $130,000 from Hawaiian banks and a $5,000 ring from Costco. Prior to that, he had served a seven-year prison sentence in San Diego for running up over $3 million in debt using his parents’ identities.

During his time on the run, Adams assumed the alias Paul Phillips and entered into a relationship with Navy veteran Racquel Sabean. On April 17, 2022, Adams, Sabean, and their infant daughter crossed the border into Mexico.

Adams’ arrest also comes after he fled Mexico, where he is a suspect in the death of his girlfriend, Racquel Sabean. In May 2022, Sabbean’s body was discovered in a car trunk in Tijuana. Mexican police initially questioned Adams about Sabean’s disappearance, but the following day, he was spotted entering the United States under the alias Aaron Bain. The FBI is seeking Adams in connection with Sabean’s murder.

Known for his ability to change his identity, Adams has used multiple aliases, including Aaron Lee, David Smith, Dominic Braun, David Phillips, Kevin Schoolcraft, Kevin Kennedy, Michael Whitman, Lance Irwin, Brice Johnson, Matthew Kashani, Taylor Chase, and Joshua Smith.

Adams had been reported missing from the Oahu Community Correctional Center in May 2019 when he failed to return from a work furlough. Sabean’s remains were later found in the trunk of her Volkswagen Jetta in Tijuana.

Sabean’s father, David, has expressed suspicion of Adams, recounting his daughter’s statement that he was not nice to her when he was not around her father. David Sabean also claimed to have seen surveillance footage of Adams parking his daughter’s vehicle, where her body was later discovered.

Adams is facing numerous charges, including grand theft, fraud, and making false statements. He has already pleaded guilty to misdemeanor grand theft and fraud charges. Adams is scheduled to appear in court on January 3 to face additional fugitive charges.