CENTER, Tex., April 17 -- A woman who has known escaped killer Randolph Dial since she taught him in high school knew that he was hiding in East Texas with the prison warden's wife he had abducted in 1994. But she said she was too afraid to help.
The woman, in her seventies, said that Dial summoned her in 1999, just after she had moved back to East Texas, and that she immediately knew that the woman with him was the warden's wife, Bobbi Parker.
The woman, who spoke to the Dallas Morning News on the condition that her name not be published, said Dial threatened to harm her family if she didn't take Parker on errands.
"I knew the kind of threats she was living under for herself and for her family, because, damn it, I was living under the same kinds of threats," said the woman, who met Dial at a high school in the Houston area more than 40 years ago.
People who say, " 'Oh, she could've gotten away.' They don't know him," the teacher said, adding that she still fears Dial.
Police arrested Dial on April 4 at a mobile home near Center and found Parker working at a chicken house nearby. Parker has since been reunited with her husband and her two daughters, who were 8 and 10 when she disappeared more than a decade ago from the prison grounds in Granite in southwestern Oklahoma.
Dial, 60, and Parker, 42, lived on the chicken farm as Richard and Samantha Deahl. Dial told reporters he had abducted Parker at knife-point when he broke out of the Granite prison and kept her from fleeing by threatening to hurt her family.
Oklahoma authorities say they are trying to decide whether Dial should be charged with kidnapping or whether Parker should be charged with helping him stay on the lam.
"There are strong feelings on both sides of the fence. A lot of people that you interview feel that she is just a pure victim," Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent Robert Williams said. "Then there's lots of people that we talk to that say that she was there willingly, and they were husband and wife."
But the teacher said she and the warden's wife were powerless.
"She was like a frightened bunny," the teacher recalled of the first time she met Parker.
The teacher said Parker told her Dial initially drugged her to keep her docile. Dial also told Parker that her husband and children would reject her as convict trash if she tried to go home, the teacher said.
"He worked on her constantly," the teacher said.
The teacher said they came up with plans to escape at least three times but always backed out.
Parker was reunited with her husband, Randy, a prison warden at Fort Supply, Okla. He said his wife hasn't talked about her experience but has said the teacher helped her "through some very difficult times." He is convinced both women were "paralyzed" by fear.
"People don't understand how gripping that fear is," Randy Parker said.