ORLANDO, Fla. — A convicted killer who escaped from an Ohio prison farm in 1959, was briefly in custody in West Virginia in 1975 and then disappeared for decades has been tracked down in Florida, where he'd been living under an assumed name, authorities said Tuesday.
The 79-year-old man believed to be former Akron, Ohio, resident Frank Freshwaters admitted his true identity and was arrested without incident Monday in Melbourne, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
He'd left clues about his identity over the past 56 years, and investigators traced those to his Florida doorstep, said U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott in Cleveland. He wouldn't discuss specifics.
"We have a saying in the Marshals Service, 'Let no guilty man escape,' and that is so true in this case," Elliott said.
Freshwaters was convicted of voluntary manslaughter for killing a pedestrian with a vehicle in July 1957, and his initially suspended sentence of one to 20 years in prison was imposed in 1959 after he violated his probation, the marshals said in a statement. He was imprisoned at the old Ohio State Reformatory before being moved to a lower-security camp near Sandusky, where he escaped in September 1959, the statement said.
His time on the lam was interrupted in 1975, when he was arrested on the Ohio warrant by the sheriff's office in Charleston, West Virginia. When the governor there refused to send him back to Ohio, he was freed and disappeared again, the marshals said.
An investigation by a deputy marshal assigned this year to target cold cases led authorities to Melbourne, where Freshwaters was living as William Harold Cox, the statement said.
The Brevard County Sheriff's Office said he was jailed under the name Harold Freshwater and was ordered held without bond because of his status as an out-of-state fugitive. Court records listed no attorney for him as he awaited a hearing about possible extradition to Ohio.
Franko reported from Columbus, Ohio. Associated Press writer Jennifer Smola in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.