From ABC World News Tonight, December 24, 1987:

Lynette Fromme Escapes from Prison

Manhunt Started

Richard Threlkeld:   It's Christmas Eve and all's relatively well with the world so we can start where Christmas always starts at Vatican City where tonight Pope John Paul II celebrated midnight mass. [MASS] Tomorrow the Pope will deliver his annual Christmas Day message in Vatican Square. There's a lot of other news tonight, a message from one of the American hostages in Lebanon, Terry Anderson, and Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme who tried to kill President Ford back in 1975 has escaped from a federal prison in Alderson, West Virginia. We begin with that story and ABC's Bettina Gregory.

Bettina Gregory:   [SEARCH] They tracked her with dogs. Prison officials patrolled the railroad tracks and woods that surround the 96 acre women's prison in the rugged mountains of West Virginia. [AERIAL OF PRISON] It is bounded on three sides by a river. Still the 39 year old Fromme has not been found. [FROMME] Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme is a disciple of mass murderer Charles Manson. She escaped while serving a life sentence for trying to kill President Ford in 1975. [ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT FTG] Fromme aimed a .45 caliber gun at the President in Sacramento. A Secret Service agent grabbed the gun from her before she could fire a shot. In an interview earlier this year Fromme revealed she is still devoted to Manson.

Lynette Fromme:   I fall in love with him continuously, but he's, he's very brilliant.

Bettina Gregory:   Fromme has been at Alderson for eight years. She was last seen between eight and nine o'clock last night in the brick dormitory where she lives. [PRISON GROUNDS] Inmates are not locked into their rooms at this prison, they roam freely about the grounds which resemble a college campus. [FENCE] The prison is bounded by a single eight foot wire fence which is not electrified. There were no special security procedures for Fromme because the warden says she was a model prisoner.

Warden Ron Buckhart:   It was a very uneventful period of confinement without incident until yesterday.

Bettina Gregory:   Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor and author who helped send Manson to prison, disagrees.

Vincent Bugliosi:   She's slavishly obedient to Charles Manson. Her history is that she attempted to assassinate the President of the United States. If we put all these things together by definition, she's an exceedingly dangerous woman.

Bettina Gregory:   [ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT] Ironically, Sara Jane Moore, who also attempted to assassinate President Ford 17 days later, escaped from the same prison eight years ago. She was quickly apprehended. Prison officials are still hopeful they'll recapture Fromme. If they do she won't remain here, she'll be transferred to a prison with much heavier security. Bettina Gregory, ABC News, Alderson, West Virginia.

Richard Threlkeld:   The warden at Alderson prison says there's been unconfirmed sightings of Fromme in the area but the search is continuing.