An FBI agent on Friday quickly debunked the theory by Canadian police that Scottsdale slaying suspect Robert Fisher might not have been Robert Fisher after all.
A spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on Thursday suggested a Canadian citizen may have posed as Fisher while living in Scottsdale and returned to his own country after killing his wife and two children in 2001.
It would explain why a man arrested Wednesday with an "uncanny" resemblance to the fugitive has different fingerprints than Fisher’s 1979 U.S. Navy files, Canadian police said.
"That’s absurd," said FBI special agent Bob Caldwell, the lead investigator in the hunt for the now-42-year-old man on the agency’s Most Wanted list.
"We know who Robert Fisher is. He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He moved to Arizona, lived in Tucson for quite a long time. His family has all been here in the state of Arizona. We’ve tracked Robert Fisher throughout his life. His parents — we’ve had contact with them the whole time.
"That person, who is in Canada, strongly resembles Robert Fisher, but he’s not Robert Fisher."
Fisher is the sole suspect in the killing of his wife, Mary, 38, and their children, Brittney, 12, and Bobby, 10. Police say he slit their throats, shot his wife in the head, then rigged a gas line to blow up their home.
A 45-year-old Canadian man was arrested Wednesday at a house he shared with a girlfriend near the U.S. border. A neighbor had notified authorities about the man after seeing Fisher’s wanted poster on the FBI Web site.
The man, whose name and photograph were not made public, was released Thursday when his fingerprints identified him as a Canadian resident, prompting immigration officials to revoke the warrant holding him, said Tim Shields, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police constable.
Scottsdale detective Sam Bailey said the man’s striking resemblance to Fisher actually was a reason alone to discount him as the fugitive. Fisher, he said, has probably tried to change his appearance as much as possible.
"I would surmise that he would not look anything like the Robert Fisher of yesterday," Bailey said.
Canadian officials said the look-alike shared Fisher’s height, weight, eye color and had the same scar on his lower back.
Caldwell said Fisher’s dental records were sent to Canadian authorities, but he did not know the outcome of that comparison, other than the man was missing the same upper bicuspid where Fisher had a gold crown.
"But his fingerprints rule him out. Fingerprints are better than dental records," Caldwell said.
"I’ve seen the pictures of this guy. And at first quick glance, you go, ‘Yeah, he looks like him.’ But it’s not him. Even by picture I can see that it’s not him."