Frank Freshwaters was arrested in Florida this week, bringing an end to a manhunt that covered two states and stretched back more than half a century.
Freshwaters had been convicted of manslaughter in 1957 when he hit and killed a pedestrian with his car. He avoided prison after the conviction, but violated his probation in 1959 when he got a driver’s license. Freshwaters was sent to the Ohio State Reformatory, where the movie Shawshank Redemption would later be filmed. He was then moved to a lower-security prison camp, where he escaped later that year.
Frank Freshwaters spent more than 50 years on the run, though he was actually arrested once during his time on the lam. In 1975, he was picked up in West Virginia on his warrant in Ohio, but the governor refused to send him back to Ohio and Freshwaters slipped away once again.
But the run all came to an end this week, thanks to the tireless work of the U.S. Marshals Service. Agents tracked Freshwaters to Florida, and worked with deputies in Brevard County to confirm his identity through a clever ruse. The deputies tricked the now 79-year-old fugitive into signing some documents, though what they were really after were his fingerprints.
The prints matched records for Frank Freshwaters, and deputies moved in to arrest him. They came to his trailer, which is in a rural part of the state, and handed him the black-and-white mugshot taken when Freshwaters was originally sent to prison.
“They showed him the pic, and he said he hadn’t seen that guy in a long time,” said Major Tod Goodyear. “Then he admitted it and basically said, ‘You got me.’ ”
Frank Freshwaters is not the only killer to be arrested after decades on the run. In 2013, police finally caught the suspect in a 1979 murder after he spent more than 35 years on the run. The man, Ata Yousef El Ammouri, was picked up at O’Hare International Airport while trying to return to the country from Jordan.
El Ammouri was trying to attending his grandson’s graduation when he returned in 2013, but instead was taken into custody. He had originally been charged with murder in 1979, but disappeared after posting $100,000 bail.
During his time on the run, Freshwaters lived in several states and worked as a truck driver. By the time police caught up with him, he had retired and was living off social security.
With Frank Freshwaters now arrested, officials have schedule a hearing about possible extradition to Ohio.
[Image via WPTV]