OKLAHOMA CITY – A convicted murderer and a deputy warden’s wife who disappeared nearly 11 years ago have been found living together and raising chickens in Texas. The woman said she was held captive the whole time, staying with the killer out of fear her family would be harmed if she fled.
Bobbi Parker, 42, was reunited with her husband Tuesday as authorities tried to piece together details of the strange case. “It looked like a husband and wife who hadn’t seen each other in 11 years,” Texas Ranger Tom Davis said of the emotional reunion.
A tip generated by the TV show “America’s Most Wanted” led law enforcement to a mobile home in Campti, Texas, where escaped convict Randolph Dial was arrested Monday, said FBI agent Salvador Hernandez. Parker was found a short time later working at a nearby chicken farm; the two were living under assumed names in the trailer outside Campti, a tiny town near the Louisiana border.
The couple have two daughters, who were 8 and 10 at the time of the disappearance. The family still lives in Oklahoma, where the escape occurred.
Tanya Joy Parker, the sister of Randy Parker, said the two children did not make the trip to Texas. “They are elated, but after 10 years you’d be a little stunned,” she said.
Sheriff Newton Johnson had said that Bobbi Parker wanted to stay on the chicken farm, but Hernandez said this was a misinterpretation. Hernandez said that while it is unusual for someone to be held against one’s will for so long, it is not unprecedented.
“There have been cases of this kind and typically this will result when someone believes family members might be in danger,” Hernandez said.
The FBI continued to question Bobbi Parker on Tuesday in Texas.
Residents of Campti thought something wasn’t quite right about the pair over the years. They kept to themselves, never engaged in any personal conversations and avoided going to the nearby town of Center.
“We just thought they might have a couple of warrants or something,” said Renae Almaguer, who once worked at a convenience store where the couple shopped for beer, cigarettes, gas and quick groceries. She said she told co-workers, “something ain’t right with them people.”
Dial, a sculptor and painter, was convicted of the 1981 murder of a karate instructor. He had obtained trusty status at the Oklahoma State Reformatory, and he ran an inmate pottery program with Bobbi Parker and had access to the couple’s home during the day in staff housing on prison grounds.
In a jailhouse interview with reporters Tuesday, Dial, 60, said he took Parker at knifepoint when he escaped.
“I was a hostage-taker and will probably live to regret it,” Dial said. “But now I don’t. Doing a life sentence, at my age, I wouldn’t trade it for the past 10 1/2 years.”
Dial said their relationship was never romantic and that they lived in separate rooms. He likened Parker’s relationship to him as “Stockholm Syndrome,” where kidnapping victims become sympathetic to their captors over time, often out of fear of violence.
“She was living under the impression if she ever tried to get away, I would get away and I would make her regret it, particularly toward her family,” Dial said. “I didn’t mean it, but she didn’t know that.”
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