Archive for Thursday, March 2, 2006

Relationship question still in air

March 2, 2006

Was it love that paired Toby Young, a dedicated prison volunteer, with John M. Manard a convicted murderer sentenced to life at the Lansing Correctional Facility?

Manard escaped Feb. 12 from prison, and authorities say Young was his accomplice. Friday, after eluding authorities for nearly two weeks, they were captured after being spotted in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Their capture hasn't shed much light on their relationship. U.S. marshals found unspecified "sexual items," in the cabin the two shared in Alpine, Tenn., but they refused to speculate about the relation.

Young, who gave several jailhouse interviews since her capture has remained mostly quiet about her relationship with Manard.

"I don't want to talk about that now," she told Kansas City television station KCTV.

"We have no idea if they were in love or not," said Bill Miskell, a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Corrections. "We know that she was the president of the Safe Harbor Prison Dog program. We know that John Manard was one of 60, 70, 80, 90 inmate dog handlers here at the Lansing Correctional Facility. Beyond that, what the nature of their relationship was, we don't know."

At the time of his capture, Manard told authorities Young was his hostage, said Ray Stewart, a deputy U.S. marshal.

But the pronouncement doesn't ring true, Stewart and Miskell said at a news conference Saturday in Lansing.

"Manard made a comment that she was being held hostage from what I understand," Stewart said, "but as my partner here said, that probably could be the farthest from the truth knowing what we know now and looking back."

Added Miskell, "It has been clear from very early on in this investigation that Toby Young was involved in planning this escape. She withdrew a substantial amount of cash. She took two handguns from her home. She obtained this white, 1997 Chevy Silverado extended cab pickup truck. She rented a storage locker in Bonner Springs. And she was an active participant in this escape."

Stewart said he wasn't surprised by the case, which paired a 48-year-old married mother of two with a man 21 years her junior who is serving a life sentence for a carjacking in which a 45-year-old man who had brain cancer was killed.

"I'm never really shocked at what some people will do," Stewart said.

"I don't know what gets into people's minds or would want to make somebody that does not have a criminal do something of this nature; I'm just glad it ended with nobody getting hurt."

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