The Real Reason Heather Tallchief Turned Herself In After 12 Years

Imagine being 21 years old and getting away with stealing $3 million. That's how it went for Heather Tallchief and Roberto Ignacio Solis, her boyfriend and accomplice. The couple successfully nabbed millions in cash from a Loomis armored vehicle in October 1993. Tallchief was a driver for the company in Las Vegas. According to The New York Times, she got the gig at Solis' urging — he himself having served a prison sentence for killing an armored car driver in 1969. 

Though Solis allegedly pretended to be reformed, Tallchief claims that he, nearly two decades her senior, was the mastermind of the robbery. The purported plan was to have Tallchief drive a truck carrying millions in cash and meet Solis at a garage as her co-workers were busy inside the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino filling ATMs, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The conniving couple reportedly loaded up the money, hid the truck, put on disguises, assumed new identities, and made their getaway. 

United States law agencies lost their trail early on. Heather Tallchief's father thought she was probably dead, telling the Las Vegas Sun he figured Solis had killed her and took the money. But as it turns out, she'd been living in Amsterdam for 12 years under a fake name, even using a fake English accent as an extra layer of hiding her true identity, per The New York Times. But just because they managed to get away with the crime, it doesn't mean it was perfect. 

Heather Tallchief turned herself in for her son's sake

According to what Heather Tallchief told NBC News in 2005, she and Solis ended up living off the stolen cash in Amsterdam, with him controlling the money. After about a year, she became pregnant. That pregnancy made her rethink her situation, and shortly after her son was born, she walked away from Solis and their stolen millions, taking only some jewelry and "pocket money." 

Tallchief told NBC News she became a chambermaid at a hotel as she raised her young son, and she didn't know if Solis came looking for them. Yet, about 12 years after the heist, she realized she was tired of being a fugitive, and prison was an okay alternative. She decided to turn herself in. 

"You get very tired of running. This is not a life, because I have been assuming something else that's not my life," Tallchief said. "If you're living in a prison mentally, then what is a box, a room, restricted privileges? It's nothing compared to what I've already been through. I truly feel like I'm setting myself free." 

Beyond her own unhappiness, Tallchief said she really decided to stop running to give her son a better life — an authentic identity. At 10 years old, he didn't have a real name nor a country. "I'm doing this for him," she told NBC News. "I feel that by turning myself in and surrendering, I can give him a better life, one that he deserves."