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Manson Follower Fromme Is Recaptured : West Virginia Officials Find Her Near Prison 2 Days After Escape

December 26, 1987|Associated Press

ALDERSON, W.Va. — Charles Manson disciple Lynette (Squeaky) Fromme, sentenced to a life term for trying to shoot President Gerald R. Ford 12 years ago, was recaptured Friday near the prison she fled two days earlier, authorities said.

More than 100 searchers accompanied by tracking dogs had scoured the rugged mountains around the Alderson Federal Prison for Women after Fromme's escape Wednesday, and a nationwide alert was issued before she was recaptured in a remote area two miles south of the prison.

Warden Ron Burkhart said a maintenance supervisor and a records supervisor helping with the search spotted Fromme. She offered no resistance.

Did Not Chase Her

"They did not have to chase her," Burkhart said. "They simply drove their car to where she was and placed her in custody."

Fromme, 39, was taken to the prison infirmary for a routine checkup. She then will be placed in the highest-security section of the prison, Burkhart said.

U.S. Marshal James P. Hickman said prison officials would question Fromme about how she escaped.

"When we interrogate her, we also will try to get information to bring charges of escape from a federal institution against her," he said. That charge carries a maximum sentence of five years, Hickman said.

Burkhart later said he was not surprised that it took officials nearly two days to find her.

"This is very rugged terrain. There are mountains you could potentially hide in for any period of time," he said. "But we've found they don't stay there for long periods of time because it's inhospitable."

Ford was unharmed when a Secret Service agent grabbed a semi-automatic .45-caliber pistol aimed at him by Fromme on Sept. 5, 1975.

Another Attack

In San Francisco 17 days later, Ford escaped injury when Sara Jane Moore, a 45-year-old political activist, fired a revolver at him. She eventually pleaded guilty and received a life sentence.

In 1979, Moore also escaped from the Alderson prison but was recaptured hours later about 25 miles away. She is now in a federal prison in Pleasanton, Calif.

Fromme had been eligible for parole consideration since September, 1985, but had waived her right to a hearing and elected to remain in prison, Burkhart said.

Stephen R. Kay, a Los Angeles County assistant district attorney who spent four years prosecuting Charles Manson and his followers, said earlier that Fromme waived parole because "she wasn't going to get it anyway."

"And asking for parole, that would have been admitting something, and Squeaky wasn't going to cooperate with the system," Kay said. "She'd rather escape."

Manson is serving a life sentence in San Quentin prison for the 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and eight others. Officials said Fromme continues to correspond with him.

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