At Least 57 State Prison Escapees Still On The Run

Nashville (AP) -- Authorities say Tennessee's prison system has at least 57 fugitives who have been on the run for decades. Many have eluded authorities by managing to blend back into society.

The Correction Department says most of Tennessee's fugitives have been on the lam for 30 years or more and are in their 50s and 60s.

Despite becoming part of the background in the communities where they live, some slip up or are caught after a tip.

That's what happened to Billy Wayne Hayes, who bolted from a work release program in Nashville in 1972 and was on the run for almost 34 years. Authorities picked him up near Dothan, Alabama, on December first after they received a tip he was in the area.

In another case, Margo Freshwater was working for an insurance company, living under a false name, and had established her own family in Columbus, Ohio, when the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation found her in 2002.

Freshwater had been on the run for 32 years after scaling the fence at the state women's prison where she was two years into a 99-year murder sentence.

Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.