After 22 years on the run, Lyndal Dale Ritterbush is back behind bars.
The convicted sex offender who escaped from the Utah State Prison in October 1985 was arrested this afternoon in Salem, Ore., living under an assumed name.
"It was part of an identity-theft investigation," Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings told the Deseret Morning News tonight. "He was positively identified as Mr. Ritterbush."
The Utah Department of Corrections said Ritterbush, who is now 62, was arrested after authorities in Clay County, Neb., notified police that Ritterbush was living in Oregon under a Nebraska man's name.
"Somehow he found out this guy is using his ID," corrections spokesman Jack Ford said today. "The police in Nebraska notified the police in Salem. Fingerprints identified who he really was."
Tonight, Oregon State Police detectives were questioning Ritterbush. He was expected to be booked into jail, and corrections officials then would begin the process to extradite him back to Utah, where he still faces a life sentence for his original convictions.
In 1983, Ritterbush was convicted of incest. He was paroled a year later but returned to prison in 1984 after being convicted of attempted aggravated sex abuse of a child.
According to Deseret Morning News archives from 1985, Ritterbush then 40 and another inmate were assigned to the prison dairy to pick up a delivery. They left the truck near some barns and walked away through nearby fields. The other inmate was captured, but Ritterbush remained at large.
At one point, he was added to the FBI's Most Wanted list. Until his capture today, he sat on the Utah Department of Corrections' Most Wanted list for decades, alongside Robert Leon Jackson, who escaped in 1981 and still has not been caught. Both men were profiled recently in a Deseret Morning News article about escaped inmates.Jackson was serving time for a robbery conviction dating back to the 1970s. He would be 73 years old now.
E-mail: [email protected]