Real Name: Margo Freshwater
Aliases: Tanya Marie Randall
Wanted For: Murder, Escape
Missing Since: October 4, 1970
Case[edit | edit source]
Details: In 1970, a blond, wide-eyed teenager from Columbus, Ohio named Margo Freshwater was in the Tennessee State Prison for Women. She had just been convicted for first-degree murder, but would not remain there for long. On October 4, she and another inmate, Faye Fairchild, escaped by scaling a fence while being escorted by an unarmed guard. She has now been on the run for over thirty years, which is the longest in Tennessee state history. Police believe that she has blended into society, as a mother, and possibly even a grandmother and well-abided citizen.
Margo's story began in 1966 when she met forty-one-year-old Glenn Nash, a lawyer who was being investigated by the Memphis Bar Association for legal misconduct. He was apparently suffering from mental illness and felt that agents from the association were plotting against him. She met with him in order to get her boyfriend out of jail. She had no money to pay him, so he took the case pro bono. He also got her a room at a local boarding house. They began an affair. He felt that the bar association was out to get him; on December 6, 1966, they left and told Margo's landlady that they were going bowling. In reality, they went on a three-state crime spree.
During a liquor store holdup, Glenn took the cashier, Hillman Robbins, into the backroom. Margo waited on a customer as he accused him of being an agent for the bar association. He then tied up, shot, and killed him, who left behind a wife and two children. A .22 and a .38 were both used in his murder. A witness saw Margo and Glenn fleeing the store in a white Ford Fairlane.
Twelve days later on December 18, a witness saw an almost identical scene: a couple fleeing a Florida convenience store in the same car; inside the store was the body of Esther Bouyea. She had been shot in the neck. Police at first did not connect the two murders until they found Glenn's car abandoned on a highway shoulder. In the trunk, they found rope and shell casings that matched those used in Hillman's murder. The car was traced to Glenn and an A.P.B. was issued. Then, on December 27, a cab driver named C.C. Surratt picked up him and Margo, and was then found shot to death.
The police staked out the nearby bus stations and their efforts soon payed off. Glenn and Margo were arrested at one of them, were taken to Mississippi, and charged with C.C.'s murder. However, Glenn was declared mentally insane, incompetent to stand trial, and was taken to a mental hospital. He was later released and is still married to his wife, whom he had been married to during his affair with Margo.
Margo stood trial for the murders but she said that Glenn had imprisoned her. She claimed that he said that he would kill her and her family if she tried to escape. Authorities were uncertain of her involvement in the murders. The jury was unable to decide and failed to reach a verdict twice. Three years later, she was tried for Hillman's murder, convicted by the jury, and sentenced to ninety-nine years in prison.
Eighteen months later, Margo and another inmate, Faye Fairchild, scaled a barbed wire fence, hitched a ride, and vanished. They went to Baltimore, where they said their goodbyes. In the early 1990s, Faye was arrested in Chicago, but Margo has never been found.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the August 26, 2002 episode. It was also previously profiled on America's Most Wanted.
Results: Captured. Margo was arrested in May 2002, shortly after the broadcast. She was living under the name Tonya McCartor, a married mother of three, in Columbus, Ohio. She was taken into custody outside of an athletic club by Ohio investigators. None of her relatives were aware of her criminal past. Tennesee investigators were able to find her after determining that she had also used the name "Tonya Hudkins" before her most recent marriage. She has since been returned to the same Tennessee prison she escaped from thirty-two years earlier.
However, in May 2011, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reversed Margo's conviction and a new trial was ordered. An informant that had spent time in jail with Glenn had given prosecutors a four-page letter, describing how he confessed to killing Hillman alone. However, prosecutors only gave Margo's attorneys one page of the letter. In November, she entered a special guilty plea and was released from prison.
- Margo Freshwater on Unsolved.com
- Jury finds Margo Freshwater guilty
- Ohio Murderess on the Loose
- Lawman won't call off the hunt
- Tennessee murderer caught in Ohio 32 years after her escape
- Killer Is Caught 32 Years After Escape
- Fugitive captured in Ohio led double life as loving mother
- Caught by Internet's Long Arm
- Margo Freshwater on Orton's Crime Blog
- (2002 Memphis Flyer Article) The Fugitive
- Freshwater vs. Tennessee
- Ex-fugitive Freshwater pleads guilty to '66 murder
- Longtime fugitive Margo Freshwater pleads guilty to 1966 Tennessee murder
- Tennessee frees Margo Freshwater
- Ohio grandmother who spent 32 years as fugitive freed from jail