Skip navigation.
Home | About Us | Contact Us
Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary


Press Release
July 27, 2011
For More Information Contact
FDLE Office of Public Information at (850) 410-7001 or
DC Public Affairs at (850) 488-0420

Florida Murderer who Escaped in 1979 Recaptured Today in Colorado

Martin CI dogs and their Trainers
Left: mug shot from FL Dept of Corrections in 1978,
and mug shot of Barrett taken today in Colorado.

TALLAHASSEE--A Florida murderer who escaped in 1979 while serving a life sentence has been recaptured in Montrose County, Colorado.

Frederick Barrett, 60, escaped from Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Florida on August 17, 1979 by climbing three perimeter fences at night during a power outage.  He was serving a life sentence for the February 8, 1971 murder of traveling companion on the Florida Turnpike.

Barrett, who was living under the name Neil Meltzer, was arrested at 6:40 am Mountain Time by US Marshals dressed as U.S. Forest Service firefighters.

The Florida Department of Corrections (DC), the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the US Marshals Service have been working together on this case for several years.  The investigation by FDLE Special Agent Supervisor Steven Davenport, Special Agent Fred Harden, Crime Intelligence Analyst Steven Dressler, in conjunction with the DC IG Fugitive Coordinator Rita Hall and Deputy US Marshal Don Exum led to Barrett’s doorstep in Colorado, where the Marshals Service went knocking. Local law enforcement also assisted in the case.

Barrett is not only facing escape charges in Florida. He will face local charges as well, as Marshals found a marijuana grow house and a number of firearms in his home. Charges will include possession of firearms by a convicted felon and operating a grow house for the cultivation of marijuana. He must answer to his local charges and face an extradition hearing before he can return to Florida. Barrett is being held at the Montrose County Jail, in Montrose, Colorado. 

Barrett was serving a life sentence in Florida for the murder of traveling companion Carl Ardolino. On the day of the murder, Barrett was traveling on the Florida Turnpike with Ardolino, Michael Owensby and another passenger. Barrett began to choke Ardolino, who was driving the car, from behind as Owensby steered the car to the side of the road. Once the car stopped, Owensby began hitting Ardolino in the head with the handle of a knife until he was unconscious. Barrett and Owensby then carried his body to a shallow ditch filled with water and held his head underneath until he died.

Barrett’s case was featured on billboards and in the press as recently as Christmas 2009 during a “12 Days of Fugitives” campaign sponsored by FDLE and the DC and designed to capture violent cold case fugitives.

For more information contact Department of Corrections Communication Director Gretl Plessinger at (850) 488-0420 or FDLE Public Information’s Heather Smith, Keith Kameg or Kristi Gordon at (850) 410-7001.