Fugitive on the lam for 56 years to return to Ohio after Florida capture

Reuters News
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Posted: May 18, 2015 6:11 PM

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - A 79-year-old fugitive captured in Florida after being on the loose since escaping from an Ohio prison farm in 1959 was ordered on Monday to return to Ohio to face the consequences.

Frank Freshwater voluntarily waived his right to extradition after he was found on May 4 living in Melbourne in central Florida, a state judge ruled. He was not confused when he signed the waiver, as he subsequently claimed, according to Brevard County Judge Rhonda Babb.

Freshwater pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for driving a car that fatally struck a pedestrian in 1957, authorities said. After violating his probation, he served time at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield. He later escaped from the Sandusky Ohio Honor Farm in 1959.

Freshwater lived in several states while on the lam, working as a trucker under the alias William Cox.

A recently organized cold case unit of the U.S. Marshals Service in the Northern District of Ohio tracked him to Florida where he settled 20 years ago, according to a news release from the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.

At the time of his arrest earlier this month, Ohio authorities had spelled his name as Freshwaters, but Florida officials give it as Freshwater.

(Editing by Letitia Stein and Eric Beech)