One of the most exhaustive manhunts FBI history came to an unceremonious end 20 years ago this week with the arrest of Ted Kaczynski, the domestic terrorist who had become known as the Unabomber.
Today, Kaczynski is in a federal penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, serving eight consecutive life sentences. He was convicted of killing three people and injuring 23 with 16 bombs detonated over a 17-year-period. He will never become eligible for parole.
Kaczynski sent most of his bombs by mail. They were all homemade, made of wood and loaded with nails.
Federal agents arrested Kaczynski on April 3, 1996, after surrounding his small cabin in the wilds of Lincoln, Montana. Less than two years later, he pleaded guilty to weapons and murder charges in order to avoid a death sentence.
Two decades after Kaczynski’s capture, here are five interesting tidbits about the Unabomber – who is now 73-years-old – you may have forgotten after all these years.
1. He’s Extremely Intelligent
Kaczynski grew up in Evergreen Park, Illinois, and dubbed a child prodigy by education experts. At 16, he was accepted into Harvard University, where he earned an undergraduate degree. He later earned a PhD in mathematics from the University of Michigan and, in 1967, at the age of 25, was named an assistant professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He resigned from that post two years later.
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2. He’s a Prolific Writer
Incarceration has done little to curb Kaczynski’s affinity for the written word. In fact, Kaczynski has been corresponding with hundreds of people since his arrest, but those writings are being kept under seal until 2049, when they will be made public. In 2010, the publishing company Feral House published Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski.
3. He’s an Active Alumnus
In 2012, Kaczynski submitted his biographical information to Harvard University’s Alumni Association for inclusion in the school’s alumni directory. The listing he submitted boasts his eight life sentences as “awards,” and claims his current occupation is “prisoner.”
4. He Has a Following
In 1995, a Boston artist launched a formal write-in campaign to get Kaczynski elected president. The slogan of the campaign, which was launched to convey the sentiment that the American political system is a farce, was, “If elected, he will not serve.”
5. He was Given Up by His Brother
Investigators got their first real break in the Unabomber case in 1995, after Kaczynski’s notorious “Manifesto” was published in national newspapers. After reading his writings, Kaczynski’s sister-in-law recognized his handwriting. She showed her husband, who also identified the handwriting as Kaczynski’s. Ted’s brother, David, notified the FBI about his hunch, leading to Kaczynski’s eventual arrest.