Escaped Clinton Campaign Hostage-Taker Found
(MANCHESTER, N.H.) — The hunt for Leeland Eisenberg, the man who took hostages at a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign office six years ago, is over.
He has been arrested after walking away from a Manchester, N.H., halfway house on Sunday, officials say.
After a tipster alerted authorities, the Manchester Police Department apprehended him around 8:30 a.m. Monday morning in the lobby of a community resource center, Jeff Lyons, a public information officer for the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, said on Monday.
“We don’t know exactly what he was doing in the period of time that he was gone but apparently he was looking for job listings” at the time of his arrest, Lyons said.
He was being held in the lowest level security status because he would have been eligible for parole in August.
Lyons said Eisenberg will now be sent the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord.
“He hadn’t been a disciplinary problem for us so there was no reason for him to not to be held on minimum status,” he said
Eisenberg, 52, has been serving time there since May 2010, when a judge ruled that he violated his probation by testing positive for drugs and alcohol and cutting off a pair of monitoring devices.
Lyons said Eisenberg was placed on “walk-away” status from the Calumet Transitional Housing Unit at 3 p.m. Sunday. He was discovered missing after a resident headcount determined he was not in his room.
“We do four headcounts a day and he was there for the 11 a.m. check but not for the 3 p.m. check,” Lyons said.
Eisenberg was never considered dangerous, or armed. He has been charged with escape, a felony punishable by three-and-a-half to seven years in prison, even though he was almost eligible for parole.
Eisenberg’s arrest record includes a number of parole violations, driving under the influence, two rape convictions and two counts of stalking.
But he is most notoriously known for his role in the taking of hostages at a New Hampshire campaign office of then Sen. Clinton. He was ultimately convicted of multiple counts of kidnapping, criminal threatening and false reports of explosives.
Eisenberg appeared at the office in Rochester in 2007 strapped with what looked like dynamite but was road flares duct-taped to his chest. He initially entered demanding to talk to Clinton about his desire to get psychiatric assistance, which he had been denied because he didn’t have the money. He ended up taking several hostages, including an infant.
While holding them captive, Eisenberg had a hostage call CNN three times to make known his desperate need for mental health care.
CNN quoted him saying, “I need to speak to Hillary Clinton. Something’s got to change. Ordinary people need help” with their insurance.
Clinton was in Washington at the time.
Three days prior to the incident, Eisenberg’s wife filed for divorce and was expected to appear in court with him that day for domestic-violence charges. At the time, he was being considered for federal charges and he was also being held on alleged state charges of reckless conduct.
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