Alleged Michigan prison escapee captured in San Diego

SAN DIEGO — A woman who allegedly escaped from a Midwestern prison 37 years ago was captured in the Balboa Park-area neighborhood where she was living, authorities reported Tuesday.

layman before and after webActing on information from Michigan corrections officials, San Diego police arrested Judy Lynn Hayman, 60, at her apartment in the 3500 block of First Avenue late Monday afternoon, SDPD public-affairs Lt. Kevin Mayer said.

Officers went to the apartment with only a grainy picture of Hayman taken 37 years ago to go on. Hayman initially claimed to be Jamie Lewis, she even had documents to support her claim.

If it hadn’t been for a December blizzard back in Michigan, police may have never caught up with Hayman.

Investigators from the Michigan Department of Corrections had been forced to stay in doors during the snow storm. They figured it was a good time for their yearly review — they pulled out cases belonging to escaped convicts. By coincidence, a new set of digital finger prints for Hayman had arrived from Detroit. The prints were sent to the F.B.I. for analysis.

They came back to a woman named Jamie Lewis who had been arrested in San Diego on a Heroin charge back in 1988. Hours later Hayman was taken into custody.

“We just can’t take into account at my level, department of correction level… hey she’s living the good life, she’s turned her life around whatever situationis… the obligation to society, by law had to take her back into custody,” said Lt. Charles Levens with the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Hayman’s extradition hearing is scheduled for Thursday morning. If she doesn’t fight extradition, she’ll be taken back to Michigan to finish her sentence, less than a year. But she’s now facing additional time behind bars because of her escape 37 years ago.

It was the second time in six years that a female escapee from a Michigan penitentiary turned up in San Diego.

Carmel Valley resident Susan LeFevre, 53, was arrested at her home in April 2008, 32 years after she climbed a barbed-wire perimeter fence at the Detroit House of Corrections and absconded with help from her grandfather.

At the time of her escape, she had served about 12 months of a 10- to 20- year sentence for selling heroin to an undercover police officer at age 19.

LeFevre got married, had three children and lived under an assumed identity until authorities, acting on an anonymous tip, caught up to her. She was sent back to Michigan, served another year in jail and was paroled in May 2009.