Fugitive Captured 35 Years After Prison Break

This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," October 17, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JOHN GIBSON, CO-HOST: Now to big crime. Some killers in this country unfortunately do get away with murder. Linda Darby didn't, until she broke out of prison. Police have spent nearly three dozen years looking for the Indiana fugitive who killed her husband. But the hunt is finally over.

HEATHER NAUERT, CO-HOST: They found her alive and well. So what has she been doing all of these years? BIG STORY correspondent Douglas Kennedy spoke to her.


DOUGLAS KENNEDY, BIG STORY CORRESPONDENT: You know, I actually spoke to her husband's cousin and a couple of friends. And both say they are shocked that she would be this woman who killed her husband almost 30 years ago. In fact almost no one who knows her can believe she was a wanted woman for almost three decades.


KENNEDY (voice-over): She has been living on the lam for more than 35 years, a fugitive with an assumed name. Now 64-year-old Linda Darby is back in custody, much to the surprise of her new friends and relatives in Tennessee.

JESSE MCELROY, DARBY'S HUBAND'S COUSIN: We were really shocked to hear that.

KENNEDY: Is there any possible way that she could have done this?

MCELROY: I just don't believe she did it. I just don't believe she has murder in her heart or mind.

KENNEDY: In 1970, Darby was convicted of killing her then second husband Charles in the small town of Hammond, Indiana, shooting him in the head and then burning his body.

GRACE PURKEY, DARBY'S OLD NEIGHBOR: The whole neighborhood was upset. Because at that time, you never saw things like that going on in this neighborhood.

KENNEDY: Two years later, she escaped from this Indiana state prison, climbing over a barb wire fence, which was all that laid between a life sentence and a life on the run.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At '72, it was a single perimeter institution, a single fence barrier if you will. We have a double perimeter fence around that facility now.

KENNEDY: And for 30 years, Darby went under the radar in Pulaski, Tennessee, assuming the name of Linda McElroy. She lived in this house with two new children and a man she called her husband. Even the officer who arrested her said Linda has been an integral part of the Pulaski community for decades.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has lived a life of a good citizen here.

KENNEDY: Earlier this week, Darby gave an exclusive interview to WSMV in Nashville, where she reiterated she did not kill Charles Darby, a stand she has maintained for nearly four decades.

LINDA DARBY, FUGITIVE: I would love to know who killed Charles. I would love to know and I would love to see them punished. But I didn't kill him.

KENNEDY: She said she ran from prison because she thought she had no hope of proving her innocence.

DARBY: I knew, you know, nobody would believe, you know, anything because every time while I was there, people came in and said I am innocent, I did not do it. That was the standard thing. And I got so I would not even say anything. Because I would think, well they're lumping me with the rest of them.


KENNEDY: And pretty soon she will be back with the rest of them. Darby is currently being held at the Giles County Jail in Tennessee, but she has waived extradition proceedings and should be back in Indiana, John and Heather, by Tuesday of next week.

NAUERT: Douglas, how did this Indiana cop track her down?

KENNEDY: That is a good question. They have not revealed that. They have a unit that is designed to track down people who have escaped, but she says that somebody turned her in. She does not know who.

NAUERT: Douglas Kennedy, thanks so much.

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