Oklahoma Fugitive Nabbed Near West Virginia Prison
Saturday, May 13th 2006, 4:18 PM CDT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Federal officials apprehended a former Comanche County Sheriff's Department dispatcher on Saturday near a minimum security prison in West Virginia where she escaped last week, the U.S. Marshal's Service said.
Wanda Byrd, 34, of Lawton, Okla., was taken into custody just outside the FPC Alderson Facility in Alderson, W.Va., said Brad Sellers, a supervisory deputy with the U.S. Marshal's Service.
After staying in the woods for about five days after her escape, Byrd stayed briefly with a couple who lived in the area. The couple became suspicious and notified authorities, Sellers said.
``She lied about her identity to begin with, but after brief questioning she admitted who she was,'' he said.
Byrd was discovered missing during a head count May 6. The facility for female offenders is the same prison where Martha Stewart served time for obstructing justice.
Byrd, who was beginning a 27-month sentence, already has been charged with escape in federal court in West Virginia and likely will be arraigned on Monday, Sellers said.
She was one of eight people who pleaded guilty to federal charges of theft from a federally funded program after a security guard scandal involving the Lawton Public Schools system.
Byrd would have been eligible for work release in six months to complete her sentence, but now faces an additional five years if convicted on the escape charge, Sellers said.