Prison Worker Who Fell in Love With Inmate and Helped Him Escape in 2006: “It Seemed Like a Good Decision.”
The subject is back in the headlines after a manhunt ended with the death of a sheriff's deputy accused of helping a murder suspect escape. The case shares similarities to a 2006 escape involving a prison worker who snuck out an inmate in a dog crate.
It's the question captivating America after the manhunt for Vicky White and Casey White came to end: Why would a trusted corrections officer risk it all to go on the run with an accused killer?
Toby Young knows how it can happen. “I can surmise that she was in love with him, and that love was worth whatever price she felt she had to pay for it,” she said.
Young ran a dog-training program at a state prison in Kansas. There, she met and fell in love with John Manard, who was serving a life sentence for murder committed during a violent car jacking.
“I saw beyond that to the person he really was. It's just sad that nobody else noticed me or paid attention to me and that an inmate was the one who paid attention,” Young said.
Young was a married mother of two, but in 2006, she snuck Manard out of prison in a dog crate, and off they went, triggering a nationwide manhunt.
“It doesn't make a bit of a sense, but at that moment in time, it seemed like a viable option,” Young said.
“Prison is such a barren landscape, that if you have that kindling feeling, like oh my God, in the least expected of places, I found a new life, it can be intoxicating," forensic psychiatrist Keith Ablow said.
The similarities between Toby Young and Vicky White are striking.
Both fell in forbidden love with inmates who were more than 20 years younger. Both were on the run for around 11 days. And both were captured after high-speed chases that ended in car wrecks.
“I knew they would get caught. I'm just really sad that Vicky couldn't see through the darkness to find hope on the other side,” Young said.
After serving 27 months behind bars, Young remarried and turned her life around. She still exchanges emails with Manard and has visited him with her current husband, who knows all about her background.
“The woman I am today would never act the way that I did 16 years ago. But at the time, it seemed like a good decision,” Young said.
Young’s memoir, “Living With Conviction,” is out next month.
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