An Oregon woman who spent more than a decade in hiding to escape criminal charges after a fatal car crash built a life with her children while living illegally in Canada.
Jean Keating was living in Minnedosa, Manitoba — population 2,500 — the Oregonian reported.
After the fatal 1997 crash, in which she faced manslaughter and drunk driving charges, Keating stopped contacting her attorney. Police believe she crossed the Canadian border with her children, ages one and three, in 1998.
For more than a decade, she seemed to have built a new life, but trouble followed her. She was arrested several times in Canada, including on a charge for drunken driving. Yet, despite these encounters with law enforcement, she managed to keep her past a secret.
Early this year, that secret began unravelling, apparently by Keating’s own doing. A Royal Canadian Mounted Police constable heard rumors that a woman named Jean McPherson, who bragged about having gotten away with manslaughter in the US.
He e-mailed a border enforcement task force, which found that there was no Jean McPherson living as a legal immigrant in Canada, but when they compared the fingerprints for Jean McPherson with those on record for Keating in Oregon, they found a match.
Officials do not know how she entered the country, Canada Border Services Agency spokeswoman Lisa White said, but in the late 1990s, it was not usually necessary for US citizens to show their passports when crossing into Canada.
Immigration authorities arrested Keating in Canada on April 4 and issued a deportation order two weeks later. She was detained in Winnipeg, Manitoba, because she was deemed a flight risk until June 12, when she was deported to North Dakota.
Keating has been barred from entering Canada, White said.
Keating was brought to Oregon last week, where she is accused of first-degree manslaughter in connection with the 1997 death of 65-year-old Jewel Anderson.
Police say Keating, then 38, sideswiped Anderson’s car on Interstate 5 near Albany, sending it into the center lane and into another car. Anderson died at the scene.
Keating’s arrest brought to an end years of searching by Linda Anderson, the 51-year-old daughter-in-law of Jewel Anderson.
Over the past 15 years, Linda Anderson had pursued a methodical online hunt for Keating.
She was astonished when Oregon State Police called to say Keating had been arrested.
At a court appearance, Linda Anderson asked prosecutors and the judge to hold Keating accountable for the life she took.