Santa Barbara, Calif. — “Where are the Quaids?”
It’s been a familiar question for more than a year at the Santa Barbara courthouse where judges, prosecutors and even Randy and Evi Quaid’s own attorney have worked overtime to try to get the couple to appear for two felony court cases.
Last year, the search centered on Texas, but in recent weeks the focus on the Quaids’ whereabouts has shifted to Canada, where they are seeking asylum from a mysterious syndicate they’ve dubbed “Hollywood star-whackers.”
In the latest case, Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Donna Geck was the one asking about the actor and his wife’s whereabouts Tuesday. They had been scheduled to appear for an arraignment on felony vandalism charges, but for the third time in two weeks, failed to appear.
The result was an arrest warrant issued for Evi Quaid, who also forfeited $500,000 bail. The judge agreed to hold off on issuing a warrant for Randy Quaid’s arrest until Nov. 16 so that he could attend a Canadian immigration proceeding next week.
With a string of missed court appearances and bizarre behavior both in and out of the courthouse, that hearing may give the Quaids their last chance to address the vandalism case voluntarily. Their attorney, Robert Sanger, acknowledged Tuesday that there is talk of bounty hunters pursuing his clients.
Sanger told Geck that Evi Quaid didn’t appear in court because she didn’t want to leave her husband alone.
It wasn’t a valid legal reason for Evi Quaid’s absence, Sanger conceded, but he also said he was looking into whether the couple’s stated fears may have some legitimacy.
The couple are accused of living in the guest house of a home they once owned. Sanger said he suspected forgery on the home’s deed transferring ownership from the Quaids in early 1990s, but he needed more time to be sure.
“There may be a claim of right — as strange as that may seem — to the property in this case,” Sanger said.
Strange circumstances have defined the Quaids since September 2009, when they were accused of defrauding an innkeeper of more than $10,000. The money was repaid, and the case was finally resolved in April, but not until after several missed court appearances, warrants and the couple ending up in handcuffs.