Jailer's wife claims she was held hostage by killer for 10 years

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The Independent US

When a convicted killer, Randolph Dial, escaped from an Oklahoma prison almost 11 years ago he took with him a hostage - the wife of the jail's deputy warden. Other than two brief telephone calls which she was able to make to her husband shortly after the breakout, nothing more was heard of the jailer's wife or the prisoner who had taken her hostage.

When a convicted killer, Randolph Dial, escaped from an Oklahoma prison almost 11 years ago he took with him a hostage - the wife of the jail's deputy warden. Other than two brief telephone calls which she was able to make to her husband shortly after the breakout, nothing more was heard of the jailer's wife or the prisoner who had taken her hostage.

But now the couple have been found living together on a chicken farm in eastern Texas, rarely venturing out and using false identities when they do so. The woman, Bobbi Parker, claims she has been a hostage, unable to leave out of fear of what Dial might do to her family.

"I was doing time," 60-year-old Dial told reporters after he was arrested on Monday by FBI agents following a tip-off to a television crime show. "It was just the same as being in prison, except I had a big yard. I hoped I'd be luckier, see [the agents] coming. But I didn't." He added: "I was a hostage-taker and will probably live to regret it, but now I don't."

He said that Mrs Parker's relationship with him was an example of Stockholm syndrome - a condition where hostages begin to side with their kidnappers. The term was coined after a siege in Stockholm in 1973, and its most noted victim was the heiress Patty Hearst who identified with her Symbionese Army captors in 1974. Dial said Mrs Parker "was living under the impression that if she ever tried to get away, I would get away and I would make her regret it, particularly toward her family. I didn't mean it, but she didn't know that."

Many local people are not convinced. Mrs Parker said she was married to Dial and signed her name as "Samantha Deahl". "She didn't seem like she was in no fear for her life or anything like that," said Patti Hall, who manages a nearby store where the couple bought beer, cigarettes and groceries. "She didn't slip me a note to call the sheriff or anything. She was just one of the chicken folks."

The local sheriff, Newton Johnson, said: "It's unusual that someone would be held against her will for 11 years, but I guess anything's possible."

Dial, a sculptor and painter, was convicted of the 1981 murder of a karate instructor. He had obtained special status at the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite where he ran a pottery programme with Mrs Parker. The two disappeared in August 1994 and, other than the two telephone calls, neither Mr Parker nor the couple's two young children heard any more from her. Mrs Parker was reunited with her husband on Tuesday. A Texas Ranger, Tom Davis, said the meeting was emotional and that Mrs Parker spent the rest of the day in tears.

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