Man Who Fled Utah Prison in 1985 Caught in Oregon

Man Who Fled Utah Prison in 1985 Caught in Oregon

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POINT OF THE MOUNTAIN, Utah (AP) -- A Utah State Prison inmate missing for 22 years was arrested Thursday in Salem, Ore., after being caught allegedly using the identity of a Nebraska man.

Lyndal Ritterbush walked away from the Draper prison on April 9, 1985 while making mechanical repairs to motorized carts outside the prison's perimeter fences, Utah Department of Corrections spokesman Jack Ford said. Ritterbush fled about 10 p.m. with another inmate who was caught a short time later.

At the time Ritterbush was serving a prison term of five years to life for a first-degree felony conviction of aggravated sexual abuse of a child. He had been in prison for about six months when he escaped.

"Time doesn't toll when you're on escape status, so he's still facing five to life when he comes back," Ford said.

A Clay County, Neb. man contacted police after discovering his name had been used to obtain numerous credit cards. Police tracked the cards to Ritterbush in Oregon, said Ford.

Authorities don't know how long Ritterbush, now 62, has been in Oregon, nor do they know how and when Ritterbush acquired the other man's identification information, Ford said.

Utah officials have begun extradition proceedings and could return Ritterbush to the state prison as early as next week.

Only one other inmate has been on the run longer than Ritterbush, Ford said. Robert Leon Jackson, escaped from the prison in May 1981, while serving time for a robbery conviction from the 1970s. He would now be 73-years old.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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