From the Lexington Herald-Leader, December 26, 1987:

Fromme Captured Outside Prison

Steven L. Herman

ALDERSON, W.Va.—Manson disciple Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, sentenced to life for trying to shoot President Ford, was recaptured yesterday near the prison she fled two days earlier, authorities said.

"There is a Santa Claus after all," Ron Burkhart, warden at the Alderson Federal Prison for Women, said soon after Fromme was caught.

Fromme escaped Wednesday night from the prison, where she is serving a life sentence for trying to assassinate Ford 12 years ago.

More than 100 searchers accompanied by tracking dogs had scoured the rugged mountains around the prison. A nationwide alert was issued before she was recaptured at 12:50 p.m. in a remote area two miles south of the prison.

"One of the guard duties was going out, and she came out of the woods," said U.S. Marshal James P. Hickman. "I think she just came out at the wrong time."

Burkhart said the prison employees who spotted Fromme were a maintenance supervisor and a records supervisor helping with the search. She offered no resistance.

"They did not have to chase her," Burkhart said. "They simply drove their car to where she was and placed her in custody."

Fromme, 39, was taken to the prison infirmary for a routine checkup. She will be placed in the highest security section of the prison, Burkhart said.

Hickman said prison officials would question Fromme about how she escaped. "When we interrogate her, we also will try to get information to bring charges of escape from a federal institution against her," he said. That charge carries a maximum sentence of five years, Hickman said.

Burkhart later said he was not surprised that it took officials nearly two days to find her. "This is very rugged terrain. There are mountains you could potentially hide in for any period of time," he said. "But we've found they don't stay there for long periods of time because it's inhospitable."

Ford was unharmed when a Secret Service agent grabbed a semiautomatic .45- caliber pistol aimed at him by Fromme on Sept. 5, 1975.

In San Francisco 17 days later, Ford escaped injury when Sara Jane Moore, a 45-year-old political activist, fired a revolver at him. She eventually pleaded guilty and received a life sentence.

In 1979, Moore also escaped from the Alderson prison, but was recaptured hours later about 25 miles away. She is now in a federal prison in Pleasanton, Calif.

Fromme was the first person sentenced under a special federal law covering assaults on presidents, a statute enacted after the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. She was serving a life term but had been eligible for parole consideration since September 1985. She waived her right to a parole hearing and chose to remain in prison, Burkhart said.

Steve Kay, a Los Angeles County assistant district attorney who spent four years prosecuting Charles Manson and his followers, said earlier that Fromme waived parole because "she wasn't going to get it anyway."

"And asking for parole, that would have been admitting something, and Squeaky wasn't going to cooperate with the system," Kay said. "She'd rather escape."

Manson is serving a life sentence in San Quentin prison for the 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and eight others. Officials said Fromme continued to correspond with him. Author Mary Neiswander, who has written many articles about the Manson family, said she was relieved that Fromme was back in custody. She said Fromme was one of the more devoted Manson followers.

"I was worried that she'd do something crazy," Neiswander said. There have been 15 escapes from Alderson in the last two years. Two women remain free.