Just two weeks after turning 21, fugitive Cheyne Kehoe made two of the biggest decisions of his life.
He decided to drive from Utah to Colville, Wash., to surrender - and tell the FBI where agents could find his fugitive brother.
The only remaining mystery is why.
It may be that Cheyne Kehoe got tired of throwing hay bales and catching fish for survival and now is eyeing a $60,000 reward for his wife and infant son.
“There’s a distinct possibility that’s part of it,” Cheyne Kehoe’s father-in-law, Bob Wilburn, said Wednesday.
“He did it for himself,” one FBI official said when asked why one brother would turn in the other.
The Kehoe brothers became subjects of a nationwide manhunt after shootouts with police who stopped their Suburban in Ohio in February. One of the gunbattles was captured on videotape by a police camera.
Now, Justice Department lawyers ultimately may have to decide if one of the targets of a federal reward is eligible to collect part of it, the FBI official said.
There is precedent for co-conspirators collecting rewards, the official said.
But another federal investigator who worked on the case said he’ll quit if Cheyne Kehoe gets a dime of the reward for the arrest of his brother, Chevie Kehoe.
In Salt Lake City, FBI supervisor Thomas Kubic said Wednesday that Chevie Kehoe and his wife, Karena Gumm, boasted that they were prepared to die in a gunbattle. They were arrested without incident. Chevie Kehoe was grabbed as he went to a farm store near Gunlock, Utah, a day after Cheyne Kehoe surrendered in Stevens County. Karena Gumm, who was armed, was briefly detained but not taken into custody.
Court documents show it all came about after Cheyne Kehoe told an FBI agent that his brother and other family members were living on the ranch in southern Utah.
The documents don’t mention Cheyne Kehoe’s motivation for talking.
Chevie and Cheyne Kehoe face attempted murder charges for the Ohio shootouts. Chevie Kehoe also is under federal indictment in Spokane for possessing two firearms taken from an Arkansas gun dealer who was murdered along with his family.
Chevie Kehoe is described as a “key figure” in that unsolved triple-murder case. No charges have been filed.
Arkansas investigators are in Utah, hoping to interview Chevie Kehoe.
Federal investigators also are attempting to determine how the brothers managed to travel cross-country and avoid authorities for four months.
After fleeing Ohio, the pair and their wives and children drove a motor home to Wyoming, where it was found abandoned a few days later.
From Wyoming, they made it to a remote alfalfa ranch in southern Utah where a farmer took pity on the men and their families. He apparently had no idea they were fugitives.
Investigators are now attempting to determine if a band of neo-Nazi skinheads who have an encampment in nearby Zion, Utah, aided the fugitives.
On the alfalfa ranch, the Kehoes shot jack rabbits, caught fish and made a little money helping the farmer.
“I know they never missed a meal,” Wilburn said of his son-in-law, daughter and grandson.
Cheyne Kehoe turned 21 on May 29. Last Friday, he and his wife, Tanna, 20, and their 11-month-old son got in an old Chevy pickup and drove almost nonstop from Utah to Colville.
They knocked at the door of the Wilburn residence at 6 a.m. Monday, Wilburn said.
“Cheyne said, ‘We’re home. I’m here to turn myself in,”’ Wilburn said. He said his daughter and her son are staying with the Wilburns, but aren’t talking about what happened during the last four months.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
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