Lance Heflin, former executive producer of “America’s Most Wanted,” died Nov. 15 after a brief hospital stay, his representative confirmed to Variety. He was 67.
Heflin’s work on “America’s Most Wanted” led to the arrest of more than 1,000 fugitives, including 17 from the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Criminals list. During his 22 years as executive producer, the investigative series also reunited over 30 abducted children with their families. At the time of the show’s cancellation in 2012, it was the longest-running series with 25 seasons, a record that has since been surpassed by “The Simpsons.”
Born and raised in Independence, Mo., Heflin — son of late Missouri State Sen. Clarence Heflin — attended the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where he found his love for television as the managing editor of the school’s news station, KOMU.
Heflin spent his early career in Miami, as a photographer at then WCKT (now WSVN), and an investigative producer at WPLG. His coverage unpacked the failure of federal programs to improve underserved neighborhoods in Miami and the smuggling of Haitian refugees.
The longtime journalist moved on to CBS News, where he was a founding producer of the true crime series, “48 Hours.” In 1989, he left the series to executive produce “America’s Most Wanted” at Fox. Heflin co-founded Straight Shooter Production in 1995 and created two shows, “Manhunter” and “America’s Most Wanted: Final Justice.”
After retiring from “America’s Most Wanted,” Heflin worked at the Vint Hill Craft Winery in Virginia, a local winery his family built from scratch.
Heflin is survived by his wife Jan Evans, sons Patrick and Walker, sister Linda Hobbs and brother Randy.
While there will be no in-person service this year, his family created a Facebook page for family, friends and colleagues to celebrate his career. Memorial donations can be made in Heflin’s name to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.