Convicted murderer and former Playboy model Lawrencia "Bambi" Bembenek ignored the T-shirts that extolled her to "Run, Bambi, Run" and stayed put during her three months on the lam.
She was captured Wednesday on a tip from a viewer of "America's Most Wanted" who was vacationing in Thunder Bay, where Bembenek worked as a waitress since her prison break and lived with her fiance, Dominic Gugliatto. He also was arrested.Bembenek, 32, squeezed through a window in a Wisconsin prison on July 15, possibly with the help of Gugliatto, 34, and quickly became a cause celebre whose plight was described in a pop song that helped make her famous throughout the United States and across the Atlantic Ocean.
The two were being held in Thunder Bay and will be expelled from Canada for violating immigration laws, Fond du Lac County Sheriff Jim Gilmore said. He said the earliest a hearing could be held would be Tuesday or Wednesday.
Bembenek's flight sparked widespread interest, and many people perceived her as an innocent victim of the system who was convicted on circumstantial evidence.
The escape, Bembenek's beauty and the controversy surrounding her conviction led to headlines and reports of possible sightings of her around the globe - including reports that she may have fled to Great Britain.
Bembenek was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1981 slaying of Christine Schultz, the ex-wife of Bembenek's then-husband, Elfred Schultz. Schultz was bound, gagged and shot in a scheme, prosecutors said, to improve the couple's financial situation by reducing his alimony and child support payments.
Bembenek has maintained her innocence and has drawn many admirers who believe she was set up to take the blame for the killing. Prosecutors and police have characterized her as cold and calculating, and said she manipulated Gugliatto into helping her escape.
Ira Robbins, a private investigator who has been looking into her case and believes she is innocent, has fought without success for a new trial. "I was relieved nothing happened to her," Robbins said. "I think it's about time now we can get this back in court again."
But Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann said again he feels justice was done when Bembenek was convicted and said he doubts she will get a new trial.
Bembenek was once a Playboy model, and flattering pictures of her often were printed with newspaper and magazine stories on her.