Captured Fugitive Speaks Out From Jail

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," May 1, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: A 53-year-old married mother of three, Susan LaFevre arrested. The thing is, until her arrest, Susan has been living under a different name and has been running from the law for 32 years.

She escaped from prison over three decades ago. And tonight this fugitive mother is back behind bars. Susan was busted in California a week ago. Her husband and three children reportedly had no idea of her real identity nor that she was an escapee on the run.

In 1975 Susan had been sentenced to 10-20 years on drug charges. But after a year in jail, in 1976, Susan escaped from a Michigan prison and has been a fugitive until now.

Authorities say an anonymous caller tipped off Michigan police as to Susan's new identity. Susan LaFevre joins us now from the Los Calinas (ph) detention center in California. Susan, what has it been like to be on the run for 32 years looking over your back?

SUSAN LAFEVRE: Well, Greta, I felt lucky in some ways that I was free. It made me really appreciate being free and what it could be like and what others go through.

But it was always something that bothered me, and I was trying almost every other year to hire an attorney or try and get resolution, and I just didn't really know where to turn. I did turn to attorneys, and none of them seemed to be able to do anything for me.

VAN SUSTEREN: In 32 years you never reached back to Michigan and contacted a friend, a family member, or anything at all?

LAFEVRE: I contacted a few people. A few people knew about it. I didn't realize they even knew for many years, and they just were--we kept in touch. And one day, I don't know how I found out that they knew all the time. And I wished I had known, because I would have liked someone to talk to.

But, of course, I can't say who they are because that would be--they weren't supposed to know and they were supposed to turn me in.

VAN SUSTEREN: How old are your children?

LAFEVRE: They are 20, 22 and 15. I have two daughters in college.

VAN SUSTEREN: How did they find out?

LAFEVRE: A few months ago it got back to me that police were--a team or some new team that was supposed to pick up old warrants in Sagana was looking into the case and called people by my last name and were asking about me.

So I knew that they--I didn't think they were going to bother after the first 10 years. And then I figured now that they were, so I started preparing. I started calling lawyers again and talking to lawyers and making arrangements to go for an appeal to the governor.

And at some point I would have had to have turned myself in, but I wanted things prepared for it.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you told your children at that point?

LAFEVRE: Yes, I told my children. And they were really, really shocked. I am a very typical mother. Probably a little bit more-- especially on drugs, I am constantly what they would say is nagging them and lecturing them and talking to them.

My feeling on it is that I was a young girl that wanted someone to help me with drugs, and there was just nothing in the 1970's. Even now I think it is very inadequate, but there was nothing in the 1970's but jail.

I guess there were a few who had a lot of money and there was a place in Florida, or something. But no one thought of it for me. And I wish that I would have gotten help that way, and I felt that would have been the right answer.

I did get a little bit of help in the--the prison had a program until the funding was cut for it that was just a wonderful program. And I didn't even think I had a drug problem. I thought I was just partying. I got in there just because it was a safe place to go, and a little bit cleaner building than the others.

And I realized that I was using drugs fairly regularly as an answer to my problems. And it just taught me lessons I have learned my whole life and I think helped make me a lot stronger when I did have to go on my own. I never did drugs as soon as I left the area 32 years ago.

VAN SUSTEREN: So now you have got to go back to Michigan and possibly face 10-20 years. How is your husband doing with this?

LAFEVRE: Well, he is just doing real well. It hasn't sunk in to us too much. I think the kids feel it a little more.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we will continue to follow this, Susan. I hope you will join us again. But things were a lot different back then in the 1970's. I will attest to that. Good luck, Susan.

LAFEVRE: Thank you very much.

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