This Man Was a Fugitive for 56 Years

'Florida Today' takes a close look at Frank Freshwaters' story
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2015 5:33 PM CDT
This Man Was a Fugitive for 56 Years
Frank Freshwaters is shown in a Feb. 26, 1959, Ohio State Reformatory photo released by the US Marshals Service, and in a May 4, 2015, booking photo released by the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.   (AP Photo/Ohio State Reformatory and Brevard County Sheriff's Office)

In 1959, Frank Freshwaters escaped from an Ohio prison facility, where he was serving time for manslaughter; in May of this year, he was finally caught in Florida. Florida Today takes an in-depth look at the original crime (a 21-year-old Freshwaters hit and killed a man with his car in 1957), the escape (thanks to good behavior, he was allowed a transfer to a prison work farm, and he simply walked away one day), and the intervening decades, during which he went by the name "William Cox," and his Florida friends knew him as a fisherman and fried chicken fan they called "Grandpa Bill." He was actually caught in 1975 in West Virginia, but the governor at the time wouldn't send him to Ohio to face charges, and he continued living under his fake name.

A cold case unit of the US Marshals finally tracked him down in Florida, and his story came to an end when a local sheriff's deputy knocked on his trailer door and showed him a picture of himself back when he was still known as Freshwaters. "I haven't seen him in a long while," the fugitive said when asked if he recognized the man. "Freshwaters is the longest capture in the history of the US Marshals, which dates to 1789," says US Marshal Pete Elliott. "Nobody in that time frame has ever been on the run for that long a time, 56 years, and later been captured by the US Marshals. All over the nation." Click for the full story. (More fugitive stories.)

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