- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 28, 2002

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Some know her as Margo Freshwater, convicted of one murder and accused in two others, an escapee from a Tennessee prison who remained undiscovered for 32 years.
To others, she's Tonya McCartor, a caring and easygoing soul who competed in ballroom dancing and worked hard to support her three children.
Authorities say Freshwater and Mrs. McCartor, arrested May 19, are one and the same, and that they have fingerprints and a confession to prove it.
It's a claim relatives of the woman can't fathom, and that her attorney is challenging.
"We know a loving mother, a loving grandmother and a wonderful wife who has made me the happiest man that I could have ever imagined," said her husband of two years, Daryl McCartor. "They've got the wrong person."
His wife, 53, was jailed without bond pending a hearing June 18 on whether she should be returned to Tennessee. Her attorney, Richard Pyatt, noted that in 1984 an Ohio court declared Freshwater dead at relatives' request.
"She's not who they say she is," he said.
Investigators say an ordinary lifestyle helped Freshwater one of Tennessee's most-wanted fugitives escape detection.
"She kind of disappeared into the woodwork," said Ron O'Brien, Franklin County prosecutor.
Freshwater, then an 18-year-old high school dropout, had gone to Tennessee in 1966 to visit a boyfriend jailed on a robbery charge.
She began an affair with his attorney, Glenn Nash. Authorities say Freshwater and Mr. Nash killed a liquor store clerk in Tennessee, a convenience store clerk in Florida and a cab driver in Mississippi that December.
They were arrested at a bus station in Mississippi. Mr. Nash was declared incompetent to stand trial and spent several years in mental hospitals. He was released in 1983.
But Freshwater escaped from prison in Nashville in 1970, when she was 23. She was 1 years into a 99-year sentence for murdering the liquor store clerk, Hillman Robbins Sr.
With another prisoner who wasn't recaptured until the early 1990s she scaled the only fence, outran guards to the nearest highway and hitched a ride with a trucker. The two women ended up in Baltimore and stayed for a few weeks before going their separate ways.
Freshwater was pregnant. The father is unknown. She boarded a train for Ashland, Ohio, applied for a new Social Security number, took the alias Tonya Myers and settled in a boarding house, authorities say.
She met Phillip Zimmerman and told him she had been raped in a juvenile jail while serving a sentence for petty theft. She never told him much else. The two never married, but they raised her son and had a daughter.
Freshwater apparently never contacted relatives, though she lived and worked in several central Ohio communities only 50 to 75 miles from her suburban Columbus hometown.
After breaking up with Mr. Zimmerman, Freshwater met and married Joseph Hudkins, a railroad worker, and took his last name. The two had a son. Mr. Hudkins died in 1988.
Left to raise the children alone, police say Freshwater worked in the 1990s as an administrative assistant at MetLife in Columbus and sold insurance in her hometown.
Mr. McCartor, a trucker, met his wife through a dating service. On May 19, investigators arrested the woman they say is Freshwater. They say she was stoic and gave her relatives long hugs before quietly leaving with police.
Authorities say she admitted her identity after one of her thumbprints matched one taken from Freshwater in 1966.


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