Woman Back in Prison After 32 Years As a Fugitive

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A woman who hid her teenage crime and became a California homemaker with three children returned to a Michigan prison Tuesday to serve at least 5 1/2 more years of her drug sentence.

Susan LeFevre, who walked away from a Detroit-area prison 32 years ago, was arrested in April in San Diego after an anonymous caller tipped Michigan authorities to her new name.

Her attorney, Paul Denenfeld, has said he plans to ask Gov. Jennifer Granholm for clemency, but no request had been filed as of Tuesday afternoon. Gubernatorial spokeswoman Liz Boyd declined to comment on any individual case, and Denenfeld didn't return a phone message.

She arrived at the Robert Scott Correctional Facility in Northville Township on Tuesday afternoon. "She appears to be doing fine," corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said.

In an interview from a California detention facility before her transfer, LeFevre told The Associated Press she got into drugs after graduating from her Catholic high school because she was despondent over the death of her teenage sweetheart in the Vietnam War.

Then 19, she agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy and violation of drug laws in hopes of winning leniency but was given the maximum sentence of 10 to 20 years. Prosecutors say that wasn't an unusual sentence for the 1970s, though it would be unlikely today.

Now 53, she kept a low profile and used her middle name, Marie. She raised three children with her husband of 23 years, Alan Walsh, who never knew she was using an assumed identity.

After her arrest, her husband told the AP the revelation was a tremendous shock, but he described LeFevre as a woman of "the highest integrity and compassion."

Michigan corrections officials don't plan to ask prosecutors to pursue escape charges, but LeFevre may forfeit any good-time credit she had earned in prison before she escaped.

On Feb. 26, 1976, a year into her prison sentence, LeFevre walked away from the Detroit House of Corrections. She was given a pass to a clinic where she worked but didn't show up by 7:30 a.m., according to state documents requested by the AP.

According to state records, LeFevre attempted to escape once and actually escaped another time before being caught. On Nov. 30, 1975, LeFevre didn't return with a group of women who were coming back from a movie. She was returned to prison Dec. 10, though the circumstances of her return aren't mentioned in the documents.

On Oct. 6, 1975, prison officials reported that LeFevre attempted to escape from the Detroit Receiving Hospital. It wasn't uncommon for prisoners to sometimes walk away from minimum-security prisons 30 years ago, prison officials have said.