April 20, 2010
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TALLAHASSEE -- Florida fugitive Paula Eileen Carroll got an unpleasant birthday surprise this morning when she was arrested by Brevard County Sheriff’s Officers at her home for escaping from the Florida prison system more than three decades ago.
Carroll escaped 34 years ago from a Florida prison where she was serving a five year sentence for buying, receiving or concealing stolen property. She was sentenced on July 18, 1975 for the Osceola county offense, and escaped less than two months later, on September 3, 1975.
A tipster had contacted Fugitive Coordinator Rita Hall with the Department of Corrections’ Fugitive Unit and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) Fugitive Unit, and they worked together to engineer Carroll’s recapture. Sgt. Frank T. Hickman and other members of the BCSO Fugitive Unit apprehended Carroll at 8:55 this morning as she walked from her residence to her vehicle.
She told the arresting officers of the BCSO Fugitive Unit that she had “been thinking about this day for a long time” and that she was “glad it’s over.” She is 56 years old today.
Records of the 1975 escape indicate that she and another inmate were discovered missing from Florida Correctional Institution (now Lowell C.I.) during a routine count of inmates. Despite an immediate search involving multiple law enforcement agencies, Carroll has been at large since. The other inmate was subsequently recaptured.
Carroll was using the name and social security number of a West Virginia woman but her own birthdate, which is April 20, 1954. She is 56 today.
The Florida Department of Corrections Fugitive Unit has had notable success in recapturing fugitives since its inception in January 2007, using existing staff and resources, and works aggressively with law enforcement to develop and follow leads. Since that time, 413 fugitives have been recaptured. An inmate is eligible to be placed on the list if s/he has been missing for more than 30 days, and some cases are older (and colder) than 60 years.
The Florida Department of Corrections has not had an inmate escape from a secure perimeter since 2006.