Inmate Who Escaped From Prison Work Crew In 1980 Captured

Brenda-Lucas-FIA woman who escaped from a prison work crew more than 35 years ago was found and arrested in Lillington Thursday, ending three decades of eluding capture and she’s returned to prison.

Lillington Police Chief Frank Powers said he got a call from the FBI Thursday afternoon informing him that Brenda Lucas, now 65, was believed to be living at a Ninth Street address in Lillington. Officers went to the address, found Ms. Lucas and arrested her.

Ms. Lucas, who was serving a four-year term on drug charges, walked off a Lenior County work crew on January 29th, 1980, and has been free since that time. She was working on the work crew in a McDonald’s parking lot when she disappeared. She was convicted in Lenior County. A search, which began immediately, was unsuccessful in locating Ms. Lucas.

Chief Powers said Ms. Lucas led officials on a wild goose chase across several states for years before landing in Lillington.

She was completely off the radar as she lived in the Harnett County seat.  “We had no idea she was here until they called us,” Chief Powers said. “It was a shock to us.”

He said details of Ms. Lucas’ life in Harnett County are few.  “We have had to do a lot of research, we don’t know a lot about her,” Chief Powers said.

He said Ms. Lucas, living under the alias Brenda Turner, had not been arrested in Harnett County and has never been in trouble with the law here.

Ms. Lucas was first held in the Harnett County Jail on a $5 million bond. She is now in custody in the North Carolina Correctional Institution For Women in Raleigh.

State officials had nearly given up the search for Ms. Lucas before federal authorities got involved. A state official told a New Bern newspaper in 2013 that Ms. Lucas “would likely never be caught.”  They said there were no credible leads in the case for almost all the years Ms. Lucas was out of prison.  Chief Powers said he did not know how federal investigators traced the fugitive to Harnett County.

Courtesy The Daily Record