Mon, Feb 27, 2006 - Page 7 News List

US police nab dog-crate jail escapee at parking lot


A prison volunteer worker and the murderer she allegedly helped escape were nabbed in a chance encounter with police, who were in a mall parking lot discussing strategy for the capture when the couple walked out a bookstore, police said on Saturday.

Friday's arrests of Toby Young and John Manard came nearly two weeks after authorities say Young drove out of Lansing Correctional Facility with Manard hidden in a dog crate. Young ran a dog-training program at the prison and a guard did not check her van because he trusted her, authorities said.

The two vanished, but on Friday authorities got a tip that Young had bought a pickup truck in Missouri in the days before the escape, Kansas Corrections Department spokesman Bill Miskell said.

The receipt included the address of a remote cabin in Alpine, Tennessee, which officers staked out.

"They had a pretty good head start, but they left some crumbs along the way," Deputy US Marshal Ray Stewart said at a news conference on Saturday. "I guess you could say we were hungry."

The pickup was spotted about 160km to the south in Chattanooga, where more officers gathered in a mall parking lot, Stewart said.

As the undercover officers discussed strategy to capture the pair, Manard, 27, and Young, 48, walked out of a Barnes & Noble bookstore and past them, Stewart said. Authorities caught them after a brief chase on Interstate 75 between Chattanooga and Knoxville.

Manard and Young, who authorities said had more than US$10,000 in cash and two guns when they disappeared, had altered their appearance and "looked significantly different" when arrested, Stewart said.

When Manard was arrested, he told authorities that Young was being held hostage, but the receipts indicate otherwise, Stewart said.

"It's obvious to me and others in this investigation that she was an active participant," he said.

Authorities said they weren't sure how long the two had been at the cabin and do not know the nature of the pair's relationship.

Young is married to a firefighter and has children, but authorities believe her family was not aware of her plans.

Manard was serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and possession of firearms in the 1996 killing of a man during a carjacking. He now will face additional charges of aggravated escape from custody.

Miskell, the corrections department spokesman, said all procedures involving volunteer programs at the prison are being reviewed, but officials hope to continue the Safe Harbor Prison Dog Program, in which dogs from animal shelters were trained by inmates so they could be adopted.

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