A convicted killer and an assistant warden’s wife who both disappeared nearly 11 years ago were found alive by Oklahoma investigators acting on a tip from a viewer of the TV show America’s Most Wanted, the FBI said.
Randolph Dial was found in a mobile home yesterday in Shelby County, Texas, Salvador Hernandez, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oklahoma, said. The assistant warden’s wife, Bobbi Parker, was found a short time later working at a chicken ranch elsewhere in the county.
Dial was taken into custody without incident. A loaded pistol was found on top of a nearby table, the FBI said.
Investigators initially thought Parker was kidnapped and held against her will by Dial, who escaped on August 30, 1994, from the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite in south-western Oklahoma.
Two days later Dial, who was convicted of the 1981 murder of a karate instructor, was charged with unlawful flight to avoid confinement, the FBI said.
Parker’s husband, Randy, was a deputy warden at the prison but has since transferred. The couple have two daughters.
Dial, a renowned sculptor and painter with a master’s degree in art, obtained trusty status in prison, meaning he could stay in minimum-security housing outside the prison walls.
Dial ran an inmate pottery programme with Bobbi Parker. He used a kiln in the Parkers’ garage and had full access to their home during the day. The morning of Bobbi Parker’s disappearance, her husband saw Dial working in his garage as he left.
When he returned for lunch, he found a note from his wife saying she went grocery shopping and food on the counter for his lunch. When his wife had not returned home that evening, Randy Parker called the minimum-security housing unit and discovered Dial was also missing.
Bobbi Parker’s mother received a phone call from her later that night traced to Hurst, Texas. “I can’t talk now,” she said, crying. “I’m OK. Tell the kids I’ll see them soon.”
A day later, she made a second call, this time from Fort Worth to a friend in Woodward. It was the last message her family got from her. “I’ve got 30 seconds to talk,” she said. “I want you to call my home. Tell the kids I love them and I’ll be home soon.”