Toby Dorr never ran a red light, never rolled through a stop sign, never got so much as a speeding ticket. As a kid, she was always the teacher’s pet, always got straight A’s. Her parents never bothered to give her a curfew, because she never stayed out late. She married the only boy she’d ever dated, raised a family, built a career, went to church. She did everything she was supposed to do.
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She’s in her early 60s right now, just over 5 feet tall, as well as with her wry smile as well as auburn curls, she could be your neighbor, your librarian, your aunt. although people in Kansas City remember Toby’s story. She’s been stared at in restaurants, pointed at on sidewalks. For more than a decade, people here have argued about whether what she did was stupid as well as selfish or brave as well as inspirational. from the papers, she was known as the “Dog Lady” of Lansing prison, although of which moniker barely hints at why she made headlines.
Looking back right now, the idea all seems surreal to Toby, like a dream or a movie. Watching news clips via of which time in her life makes her sick to her stomach. She has to turn away. She says the woman in those videos will be another person entirely. She can hardly remember what she was thinking.
“I was a rule follower for sure,” she says that has a sweet Kansan lilt. Then she catches herself. “I mean,” she says, “except the one time.”
We love to tell the globe how happy we are. Our relationships, our children, our jobs: #blessed. although via time to time, the idea’s only natural to imagine a different life. What the idea might be like to escape our responsibilities, to get away, to start over. Of course, for most of us, of which’s just a fleeting thought.
Growing up on the Kansas side of Kansas City from the early 1960s, Toby Phalen was the oldest of seven children—several girls, two boys—in a middle-class Catholic family. When she was 5, her father was burning willow branches in their backyard as well as the fire flared in his face. She saw him come into the house. His ears were gone as well as his flesh looked like the idea was rolling down his shoulders as well as arms, “like the idea was my mom taking off her pantyhose at night,” she recalls.
He was hospitalized for eight months, as well as Toby felt the idea was her responsibility as the eldest child to help take care of her younger siblings. Even then, she wanted to solve whatever problem was in front of her. She changed diapers, packed lunches, tried to provide stability in a stressful time. “She was less like a sister than like a third parent,” one of her siblings would certainly later tell The Wall Street Journal.
Her father eventually came home, as well as although he could barely move his arms, he began working again as a machinist at the railroad. He had a big family to feed. Every day, he’d crawl under the engines as well as spend hours reaching up to service the equipment, stretching his scalded skin. as well as he never complained. “Deal with what life gives you,” Toby’s dad would certainly say whenever he heard one of his kids whining. the idea became the family mantra.
Toby internalized the lesson. She was a perfectionist, the type who spoiled the curve for her younger siblings. She never got drunk, never tried drugs. In high school, she was the president of the pep club as well as dated the star of the baseball team.
She tried not to question her circumstances. She tried to be positive as well as just go along. She doesn’t remember how her high-school boyfriend proposed, for example: “the idea was probably something like ‘We might as well get married.’ ” She said yes because she thought of which was what she was supposed to do. They got married at 20, bought a house not far via her parents, as well as had three kids in four years. The middle child, their only daughter, died a few hours after birth.
Toby dealt with the pains of life by staying busy as well as ignoring whatever hurt. Her husband was a firefighter, as well as Toby worked at a utility company. Her sons played baseball, basketball, football, soccer. She tried not to miss an individual game. On top of everything else, Toby attended college at night. She graduated summa cum laude that has a double major in accounting as well as business administration.
In 1987, when she was 30 years old, she began working at Sprint. She was a project manager specializing in systems development. There was always a fresh problem to solve, a more efficient way to do something, as well as she’d work relentlessly to figure the idea out. although her 14-year career ended with the dot‑com bust of 2001.
She began working part-time at a veterinary clinic, assisting with procedures, answering phones, scheduling appointments. She’d always loved animals. As a girl, she’d sometimes wander out into the woods as well as stand there, listening to the sounds of nature, watching the spiders on a tree.
In 2004, Toby asked one of the vets about a lump on her neck, as well as the vet told her she needed to see a doctor immediately. the idea turned out to be thyroid cancer. the idea was treatable, although she was 47, as well as the idea got her thinking about how much time she might or might not have left. “I decided I wanted to do something to make the globe a better place,” she says.
from the fog of cancer treatments, she spent a lot of time watching television, especially the Animal Planet reality show Cell Dogs. Each episode focuses on a different prison’s dog-adoption program, following inmates as they train unruly shelter dogs as well as prepare the animals to be sent to fresh homes. Toby decided of which’s what she wanted to do: start a prison dog program.
Her husband dismissed the idea, she recalls. “Toby, of which’s just TV,” she remembers him saying. “People don’t do of which in real life.” So she tried to do the closest thing possible, as well as began a dog-fostering program. She made a website, as well as within a week she heard via someone at the Lansing Correctional Facility, a state prison in Leavenworth County, Kansas, asking if she’d have any interest in starting a program there.
“I was like, ‘Yes! Oh my gosh, yes, of which’s my dream!’ ”
Two days later, she drove to the prison as well as gave the executive staff a presentation. Two days after of which, on August 13, 2004, she brought seven shelter dogs into the prison, as well as the Safe Harbor Prison Dog Program was born.
The idea was to let inmates who qualified with not bad behavior house dogs in their cells. With Toby’s guidance, they would certainly prepare the dogs for adoption. A lot of these men had gone years—some, decades—without the affectionate touch of a human. although a prisoner could hug a dog, lie in bed that has a dog, tell the dog his troubles—as well as the dog would certainly look back with nothing although love.
The program changed the atmosphere from the prison. During the day, there were dogs from the yard, dogs walking down the halls with their handlers. “Anybody who wanted to come up as well as pet a dog could do so,” Toby says. “the idea softened everybody up.”
More inmates wanted dogs. as well as more people from the community began calling Toby when they found abandoned dogs. She quit working at the vet clinic as well as turned the barn behind her house into a kennel, where she kept the dogs before they were assigned to an inmate. Soon she was working via 6 a.m. to midnight every day: organizing adoptions, shuttling dogs back as well as forth to vet clinics for spaying as well as neutering, letting all the dogs in her barn out to run as well as play a few times a day.
She also spent several hours a day helping inmates train their dogs. Before Safe Harbor, she’d never been inside a prison, didn’t even know anyone who’d served time. right now there were weeks when she was at Lansing every day, more than some of the guards.
In 18 months, she facilitated about 1,000 adoptions. from the local news, she posed for photos with dogs as well as inmates outside their cells. She began getting donations—money for dog food, leashes, vet visits—via across the country. She sent a weekly newsletter to thousands of subscribers.
Toby says her husband resented the program. Though she didn’t admit the idea to anyone at the time, not even herself, when she looks back right now she sees of which she was unhappy in her marriage via the beginning. She says of which her husband would certainly sometimes disappear to play golf. A few months after they were married, Toby decided she’d take lessons, so they could play together. although when she told her husband, he said of which before she took lessons, she should find someone to golf with.
“Well,” she said, “I thought I would certainly golf with you.”
“No,” she remembers him saying. “I golf with my friends.”
The affirmation she wasn’t getting at home, she right now got via the dogs, who adored her. When prison officials as well as guards noticed the mood from the prison improving, she became well-known with them, too. as well as the dog handlers? They seemed to love Toby most of all.
the very first time Toby met John Manard, the sun was behind him as well as the idea looked like a halo. some other inmates would certainly approach her with some degree of hesitation, although Manard walked right up as well as told her she needed him in her program. “I’m probably the best dog handler you’ve ever met,” he said.
His confidence captivated her. although she told him he’d have to get approved by the prison, just like everybody else.
He did, as well as a few weeks later he was among the prisoners gathered to receive their foster dogs. Most were happy with whatever dog they got, just glad to have a companion. although not Manard. He evaluated each dog. He petted them, examined them, then took a second or two to contemplate. When he finally made a selection—a pit bull mix, Toby recalls—she was amused by the whole interaction. She’d never seen anything like the idea.
Manard was 6 foot 2 as well as lean, with close-cropped red hair as well as an assortment of tattoos. The one arching over his navel read hooligan. He walked that has a swagger. “There was just something different about him,” Toby says.
She learned of which he was serving a life sentence for his participation, at age 17, in a carjacking of which resulted in a man getting fatally shot. Manard said he wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger, as well as even the prosecutor said he believed of which—although nonetheless, Manard had committed a felony of which led to someone’s death, so he was convicted of first-degree murder. Toby didn’t think of which seemed fair; Manard appeared capable of redemption. He was 25 when he met Toby. She was 47.
A few months after starting the dog program, Toby heard some inmates generating sexual comments about her. When she informed prison officials, she says, she was told to keep some of the dog handlers she’d gotten to know with her when she was inside the prison.
One day she was with two handlers when another inmate threatened her. He wanted his girlfriend to adopt the dog he’d fostered, although she lived a few hours away as well as was having trouble getting a ride to the prison. the idea had been eight weeks. When Toby asked the inmate about the idea, he began yelling at her, swearing as well as raising his fists. Toby turned to the some other handlers for help, although they were looking down, unwilling to challenge the man. She was certain she was about to get hit when she saw Manard walking toward her. She could feel the relief deep in her chest.
Manard told the man to go back to his cell. “Nobody was going to mess with John Manard,” Toby says.
He walked her out to the prison gate. As soon as she got to her van, she collapsed in tears. She could barely keep her hands via shaking long enough to call her contact at the prison, to inform him of which she was never going back inside. She said she’d keep running the program, although only via outside the prison walls.
of which was a Sunday. The next day, she says, she got a call back: Her contact from the warden’s office told her she could have Manard paged whenever she arrived, as well as he would certainly meet her at the front gate as well as walk her to her appointments. He was only supposed to escort her through the prison, although Manard stayed with her during her training sessions. Soon they were spending hours together every day.
Later, the warden disputed the idea of which Toby ever had an assigned escort. In an interview with The Kansas City Star, he said of which she could go wherever she needed to from the prison alone. Of course, Toby was married, religious, such a responsible citizen—nobody at the prison could have anticipated what eventually happened.
One morning, Manard noticed of which Toby looked distraught as well as asked her what was wrong. She’d been at the hospital all night, she explained. Her father had Stage 4 bladder cancer as well as had needed surgery. She’d come to the prison straight via the intensive-care unit.
“Well,” Manard said. “Thank God your husband was there to drive you.”
“He wasn’t there,” she recalls telling Manard. “He said there’s no sense in both of us not getting a not bad night’s sleep.”
Manard shook his head.
“Toby, why are you married to him?”
She thought about the idea for a moment as well as didn’t have an answer. She thought about the idea later of which day, too, when she left the prison. She thought about the idea all of which night as well as the next day. She knew the idea shouldn’t be such a hard question—she’d been married for close to three decades—although she couldn’t come up with an answer.
“of which’s when I realized, This particular isn’t a marriage. This particular will be a convenient house-sharing arrangement,” she says. “Once you open your mind as well as you think those things, you can’t stop them.”
They spent hours a day together although weren’t allowed to touch. No physical contact, of which was the rule.
She says of which she’d told her husband 10 years earlier of which she was thinking about leaving, although of which he’d dismissed the idea. She had no reason for a divorce: He didn’t hit her, he didn’t cheat on her, he wasn’t an alcoholic, as well as he had a not bad job at the fire department. Besides, her family loved him—her siblings considered Toby’s husband their own brother—as well as they would certainly never want her to divorce him.
“I did believe him of which my family would certainly talk me into staying,” she says. “I didn’t see any way out.”
although right now she felt someone notice her. She felt someone recognize of which she had needs.
“If someone had flirted with me at a gas pump when I was pumping gas, I would certainly have just not even responded to them as well as I would certainly have gotten in my car as well as drove away,” she says. although Manard’s flirting seemed safer, harmless. He was in prison, after all. Nothing could come of the idea. She allowed herself to think about Manard more as well as more. The way he’d compliment the coloring of her eyes as well as tell her how much he liked her hair.
“You deserve someone who wants to make you the center of their world,” he said.
She’d never heard anything like This particular. Looking back, she says the idea was “like pouring water on a dying plant.”
They spent hours a day together although weren’t allowed to touch. No physical contact, of which was the rule. Sometimes, though, she’d part a dog’s fur for a tick treatment as well as Manard would certainly lean over to help, as well as their hands would certainly brush against each some other as well as linger for a moment.
“the idea was so insanely desirous,” Toby says. “the idea was something you wanted so bad as well as the idea was so off-limits. So the idea just made the chemistry even more sparky.” Sitting in her kitchen, thinking about the idea 15 years later, she sighs. “the idea was just so intense.”
The electricity between them built over weeks, months. Once, Manard asked her if she’d be with him if he weren’t in prison. She thought about This particular hypothetical scenario. “I believe I would certainly,” she said.
He told her he loved her. as well as of which he wanted to escape as well as be with her. At first she laughed the idea off. of which would certainly break so many rules! although he brought the idea up again as well as again. Sometimes, as she was driving around town, she’d see a for rent sign as well as think: If he was out of prison, I would certainly get This particular little apartment.
Manard would certainly later say in an interview of which the question about being with him had been sort of a joke, although when Toby said yes, he became obsessed with the notion. He’d toss out ideas for how to escape. Maybe he could put himself in a box as well as contain the idea mailed out? Maybe he could sneak out on the truck of which delivered food to the kitchen? At one point he contemplated just climbing the fences from the yard.
“There were a lot of bad ideas,” Toby says. the idea became a puzzle, a game.
The prison was full of 18-by-36-inch cardboard boxes; the inmates used them to carry their belongings when they moved to a different cell. Manard set about trying to fit himself into one of these boxes. Every time, the box either collapsed or burst. He lost more than 20 pounds in a few weeks to make himself fit. Then one day he told Toby of which he’d dreamed of a certain way of pretzeling himself in. When he woke up, he tried the idea, as well as the idea worked.
the idea all still felt like a game. Toby wasn’t plotting to help a convicted murderer escape via prison. She was just figuring out solutions to fresh problems.
Then one of the unit leaders at the prison asked Toby to remove some old equipment of which had been sitting around: bowls, leashes, as well as a big wire dog crate. A crate big enough to fit an 18-by-36-inch box inside. Piece by piece, the idea felt like they were solving an abstract problem together.
Around the same time, Manard told Toby he wanted a cellphone, to ensure they could talk anytime. She remembers him saying he knew someone who could get him one, although the idea would certainly cost $500. She liked the idea of being able to talk anytime, although the cost seemed exorbitant. Toby didn’t get searched going into the prison, so she snuck in a phone as well as gave the idea to him.
“of which was one line crossed,” she says. “as well as then the next lines just got bigger.”
Over the course of a few weeks, they talked on the phone for 12,000 minutes—0 hours. One morning, Toby’s husband found a text message of which read: “not bad morning, baby. I love you.” Toby told him the idea was a wrong number. He said he didn’t think she was capable of cheating. “My naive thought was of which if she wasn’t having relations with me,” he would certainly later say, “then she wouldn’t be having them with anyone else either.”
Toby took more than $40,000 out of her 401(k). She bought a used truck for $5,000 as well as parked the idea in a storage unit between her house as well as the prison. When she first stopped in to look at the storage facility, she was told of which because the building was fresh, the idea didn’t have security cameras yet—which seemed perfect.
the idea all still felt like a game. She wasn’t plotting to help a convicted murderer escape via prison. She was just figuring out solutions to fresh problems. Then, suddenly, they were setting a date—Sunday, February 12, 2006—as well as going over details. Manard told her he would certainly get from the box, as well as of which the box would certainly be inside the crate when the idea was loaded onto a farm wagon as well as transferred into Toby’s van, along with some dogs she was taking to an adoption event of which day. She went to Walmart as well as bought men’s clothes as well as enough food to last a month.
Toby says Manard assured her of which she wouldn’t get in trouble, of which everyone would certainly think he’d manipulated her. She says she never thought she’d be gone forever. She figured she’d come home in a couple of months, tops. She convinced herself of which her family would certainly hardly notice: Her sons were 21 as well as 25 by then as well as had left home, as well as she already felt invisible to her husband.
Looking back, Toby says a lot of what would certainly have been reasonable questions were crowded out by an all-consuming desire to be with This particular man she’d right now known for a year although had never kissed, never hugged, barely even touched. Instead of thinking through all the foreseeable consequences of their plan, she spent a lot of time imagining what the idea might be like to hold Manard’s hand, to hug him, to, as she puts the idea, “live like real people.”
The night before the escape was both terrifying as well as exhilarating. Toby was from the living room, finishing of which week’s Safe Harbor newsletter. Her husband was from the recliner, watching TV. He got up as well as told her he was going to bed. She said she still had work to do.
“Okay, goodnight,” he said as he ascended the stairs.
Instead of saying “Goodnight” back to him, though, Toby accidentally said “Goodbye.”
As she heard the word leaving her mouth, she panicked. She could feel a twisting dread in her chest.
“I thought, Holy crap! What if he asks me why I said goodbye?”
Toby didn’t sleep of which night. She kept going over all the things she needed to do. She worried she’d forget something, say something awkward, do the wrong thing.
The temperature the next morning was from the teens, as well as the wind was spitting snow. When she pulled her van up to the prison gate, she could see the dog handlers lined up, stomping their feet to stay warm while they waited for her to take their dogs. although there was no farm wagon, no wire dog crate. So she went into the officers’ shack to make little talk as well as wait.
As the minutes passed, she figured the wagon wasn’t coming. She was almost relieved. She could just go to the adoption event as well as go back to her life. although then she saw the farm wagon come around the corner.
Suddenly the idea all seemed real. She saw how flat the wagon’s tires were, how the idea just looked like the idea was carrying something much heavier than a few bowls as well as leashes. although nobody else seemed to notice. She asked the guards to open the gate.
She opened the back of her van for the dogs. She remembers an officer patting one of the dogs as well as saying, “Well, I wish you get adopted today!” As the dogs were loaded into the back, she opened the side door, so the inmates could load the crate. Once the idea was in, she quickly slid the door closed.
Driving away via the prison, she thought maybe Manard wasn’t from the box after all. She called back behind her: “John, are you there? Are you from the crate?”
There was no answer. Again, she felt relieved. Planning the escape had been fun, although she was glad to be going to the adoption event. Then an arm burst out of the box, as well as she heard Manard laughing.
He told her he was hyperventilating as well as asked her to let him out, so she pulled over to open the crate. from the back of the van, he changed into the clothes she’d brought him. “Drive, Toby, drive!” Manard said. She headed toward her house, to put the dogs back in their kennels. Manard said they’d save time if she just let them out in a field, although she insisted. “I was not about to drop these dogs out from the field,” she says.
At her place, while Toby put the dogs from the barn, Manard went into the house as well as took two pistols. Toby never liked guns, although Manard told her they’d be carrying a lot of cash, as well as This particular would certainly scare away anyone who tried to mess with them.
Then they went to the storage facility. He drove the truck out as well as she backed the van in. She locked the unit, hopped into the truck, as well as off they went.
The plan was to take a circuitous route to a lakeside cabin in Tennessee of which Manard had reserved under a fake name, using the cellphone Toby had given him. They wanted to stay off interstates as well as big highways. First they headed north, then east toward the Great Smoky Mountains. Manard was talking so fast, Toby could barely keep up. He kept giggling.
“Look, Toby! I’m driving! the idea’s been 10 years as well as I can still drive!”
He was eating the snacks he’d asked her to buy, little chocolate donuts as well as Twizzlers. She sort of expected there to be a moment when they’d stop as well as maybe kiss for the very first time. although he told her they needed to drive. They needed to get away.
A few hours later they stopped at a rest stop. They turned out of their respective bathrooms at the same time. of which’s when he leaned down as well as kissed her. In front of the rest-stop bathrooms. the idea was the very first time she’d kissed a man some other than her husband. the idea was what everything had been building toward. the idea was a moment of pure elation.
She doesn’t remember how long the idea lasted, although she remembers of which the next thing he did was ask her to give him her cellphone so he could throw the idea in a lake.
As he drove, Toby navigated that has a road map. the idea would certainly have been a 10-hour drive if they’d taken the most direct route, although because they stuck to back roads, the trip lasted nearly 24 hours. After not sleeping the night before the escape, as well as not sleeping during the drive—as well as after such an emotional, nerve-racking experience—Toby was exhausted. So much to ensure, as they got close to the cabin as well as she opened her laptop to find the directions she’d downloaded, she couldn’t remember what she’d named the file.
“This particular isn’t a game, Toby,” she recalls Manard saying. “What did you name the idea?”
She suggested of which they pull over at a diner as well as ask for directions.
“He just went ballistic,” Toby says. He began screaming, driving erratically, hitting the steering wheel. “He said, ‘I don’t even know why I brought you, anyway. I should just throw you out of This particular truck right right now as well as just keep on going. I don’t need you!’ ”
She’d never seen him act like This particular. the idea dawned on her of which she didn’t have her phone. She’d given him all her cash. She didn’t even know where she was. She began crying.
Then, as quickly as his anger came, he was calm again. He told her he’d pull into the diner as well as she could ask for directions. She was confused, uneasy. although he was back to normal.
When they finally got to the cabin, they—well, they did exactly what you’d expect two lovers on the run to do. “the idea wasn’t awkward,” she says, looking back. “of which was probably the best part of our relationship, honestly.” Then they fell asleep in each some other’s arms.
When Toby woke up, the idea took her a second to remember where she was as well as what they’d done. She’d brought a mandolin, as well as Manard played her “Brown Eyed Girl.” He bought her a box of chocolates (using her cash) as well as they spent hours from the cabin, holding each some other as well as talking. the idea was the best Valentine’s Day she’d ever had.
Manard was, she says, very romantic. He’d fill the tub with bubbles, light candles around the room, then tell her to take a bath as well as relax. Every day, when she got dressed, he complimented her. “Wow,” he’d say. “of which outfit looks so nice!” When she cooked dinner, he would certainly tell her how great the idea was, how she was the best cook from the globe, how he’d never had fried chicken of which not bad.
They’d planned to lay low for a few weeks, although Manard wanted to go out. There were so many things he wanted to see, so many foods he hadn’t had in 10 years. So nearly every day, they went somewhere as well as did something.
She’d wanted to take some of her dogs with them, although he’d told her they couldn’t, as well as she missed having a pet. One day they went to a pet store. He said he wanted to buy her a parakeet. She liked a tiny yellow one she saw, although he said he was getting her a blue one instead.
“I’m buying This particular parakeet, not you,” she remembers him saying. “Don’t think you can tell me what to do. I’m not your fucking husband.”
She left the store as well as waited by the truck. He gave her the blue parakeet as well as told her he wanted to name the idea Lynyrd, after Lynyrd Skynyrd, because the band sang the song “Free Bird”—as well as of which’s what he was, a free bird.
She said she didn’t like of which name.
“You’re not naming This particular bird,” he told her. “I’m naming the idea. Its name will be Lynyrd.”
She stuck her finger from the cage, as well as the bird bit her.
On their fourth or fifth day, they went to Nashville as well as saw the movie Walk the Line, about Johnny Cash’s pursuit of as well as eventual marriage to then-married June Carter.
“John just loved the idea,” Toby says. “He loved Johnny Cash; he loved all the songs as well as the music from the idea. as well as he’d say, ‘of which movie’s about us. I never thought I could have you, as well as look what I’ve got.’ ”
They went to a guitar store, where Manard went down the row, trying out guitar after guitar. He asked to play one in a glass case, priced at $10,000. She says he was “in heaven,” as well as she loved watching him play.
of which day for lunch they went to a McDonald’s drive-through. She had her computer with her, as well as opened the idea up while they were in line. McDonald’s had Wi‑Fi, as well as when her browser loaded, she saw a headline of which said something like “Dog Lady Implicated in Escape.”
“You said of which they’d think you manipulated me!” She pointed at her screen. “Look at This particular! I’m in trouble!”
He slammed the laptop shut. This particular, he told her, was why they hadn’t turned on the TV from the cabin.
He told her they weren’t going to get caught. as well as if they did, the authorities would certainly blame him. the idea’s not like she would certainly end up in prison or anything. This particular calmed her, although she wasn’t hungry anymore.
One evening, Manard said he’d make her a fire from the fireplace back at the cabin as well as they could sleep next to the glowing flames. “Wouldn’t of which be romantic?” he said.
although by the time they got back to the area, the idea was late as well as there was no place to buy firewood.
“He got so mad,” Toby says. “Like the whole world was against him having a fire of which night.”
Snow was falling, as well as as they drove along the winding mountain roads, Manard jerked the wheel back as well as forth, causing the truck to slide as well as fishtail.
“I can’t believe we can’t find any fucking firewood,” she remembers him saying. “I’m just going to drive This particular truck off of a cliff.”
As the dark mountain sky skidded past as well as they teetered near cliffs, Toby wondered for the very first time how she was going to get out of all This particular.
On their 12th day, they woke up, put on wigs, as well as drove a few hours to Chattanooga. Manard had never been to an IMAX theater, as well as a mall there had one. He’d wanted to see a documentary about sharks. although when they got to the theater, they realized of which Chattanooga will be in a different time zone, as well as the shark movie had already began. They went to see a movie about lions instead.
At the concession stand, they noticed a woman buying snacks for a group of kids, as well as Manard offered to help her carry the food into the theater. When he sat down, he wondered aloud what the woman would certainly think if she knew an escaped convict was carrying snacks for her kids. Toby loved Manard, although by right now she was constantly trying to gauge his mood. She was relieved of which he liked the lion movie.
Afterward, they went to a barbecue restaurant—as well as he got upset when he stained his white shirt. Then he wanted to see the snake exhibit at the zoo. although by the time they found the zoo, the idea was closed. “Then he was mad because he couldn’t see This particular big snake exhibit,” Toby says.
They went to Sears so he could buy a GPS—he blamed her for not being able to find the zoo. She went to use the restroom, as well as when she turned out, he had disappeared. She looked around the store, although couldn’t find him anywhere. She began to panic. She was all alone. No phone. No money. Then he jumped out via behind a display as well as scared her.
“He thought the idea was so funny,” she says. “I didn’t think the idea was funny at all.”
Leaving the mall, they walked by two U.S. marshals without realizing the idea.
the idea was getting dark as they cruised down the interstate. Toby was staring out the window, thinking about the mess she’d gotten herself into, when she saw an incredibly bright light from the distance. So bright of which the idea looked like daylight. She thought there must be construction ahead.
As they got closer, she saw traffic backed up along the service road as well as a sideways police car blocking the ramp.
“Toby,” Manard said. “This particular will be for us.”
She turned to look at him.
“What’s for us?”
Before he could respond, she understood. Through the windshield, she could see what looked like 50 police cars. She remembers thinking, Who do they think we are of which they need 50 police cars?
“What do you want me to do, baby?” Manard asked.
“Well,” she said. “If they turn on their lights as well as tell you to pull over, you have to pull over. of which’s the law!”
He told her he would certainly. although then a police car came via behind as well as swerved in front of them, as well as Manard got angry.
“They’re trying to kill us,” she remembers him saying.
He told her he’d drive until they ran out of gas, then he floored the idea. She looked at the gas gauge as well as saw of which they had three-quarters of a tank. He was weaving around some other cars, driving on the shoulder. Toby watched 18-wheelers fly by, inches via her face.
At one point, Manard pulled off the highway as well as drove across the median, dodging pine trees as well as bushes as well as shrubs as the truck bounced along. They popped back out on the some other side of the highway, right now headed from the opposite direction.
Though they were going more than 100 miles an hour, Toby felt like the globe was moving in slow motion. as well as she couldn’t hear a thing. Not sirens. Not squealing tires. Not Manard. the idea was just cars as well as trees as well as flashing lights slowly passing by.
Manard was driving on the shoulder again, then through the grass alongside the highway. When he pulled back onto the pavement, the tires locked up as well as he lost control of the truck. They turned as well as sped straight toward a tree. As she saw the tree approaching, Toby prayed of which God would certainly let her die from the wreck.
“I wanted to be done,” she says.
Then they hit the tree.
Suddenly, she could hear again. Manard was asking her over as well as over, “Are you okay?” She had shards of glass in her hair as well as cuts on her head. She couldn’t get enough air to speak. Steam was pouring out of the hood of the truck.
Manard told her he didn’t want to leave her, although of which if he didn’t get out of the truck, the police would certainly start shooting. She remembers seeing him get out with his hands up. Then a man with what she recalls as “a black machine gun” began yelling at her to get out of the vehicle.
She tried to explain of which her seat belt was stuck as well as of which her door was caved in, although she couldn’t catch her breath to talk. She remembers the officer grabbing her, pulling her out through the window, as well as throwing her on the ground. Then she had a gun to the back of her head as she was handcuffed.
When she looked up, she saw Manard coming around the back of the pickup truck, handcuffed as well as dragging several officers.
“Are you okay, baby?” he shouted through the chaos. “Are you okay?”
She said she was.
Despite Manard’s promises of which she wouldn’t get in trouble, Toby was charged with aiding as well as abetting aggravated escape, taking contraband into a prison, as well as providing firearms to a felon. She was sentenced to 27 months. She later learned of which authorities had tracked them to the cabin because Toby had used of which address for the paperwork for the truck.
“the idea turns out, I’m not a not bad criminal,” Toby says.
Her first endeavor into lawbreaking divided her family. For nearly two weeks, they’d feared the worst. Toby’s father, who had already been sick, died eight weeks after her arrest. Her mother as well as some of her siblings believed Toby’s felonious behavior as well as subsequent arrest hastened his death. although her mother loved her unconditionally, as well as came to visit her in prison almost every week. Toby stayed in contact with her two brothers, although she never reestablished a relationship with her four sisters. Their family had always been private. Having their lives exposed This particular way was embarrassing as well as painful. Her sons refused to speak to her. Her husband filed for divorce, as well as the idea was finalized the day before she went to prison.
In an email, Toby’s ex-husband, Pat Young, said he doesn’t remember many of the incidents Toby describes via their marriage, or remembers them differently. although he said he never tried to squash her dreams. Even though he wasn’t a fan of the dog program, for instance, he’d helped her convert the barn into a kennel. “She was very accustomed to doing what she wanted to do,” he said, adding of which her crime created ripples of suffering for their family. “the idea affected me physically, mentally, as well as monetarily.” as well as the idea was especially hard on their sons, “who had to say, ‘Yeah, of which’s my mom.’ ”
Young will be remarried right now; he as well as his wife like to play golf together. Of Toby, he said: “She will be of no consequence to me.”
Toby knew the men’s prison in Lansing was violent. Women’s prison, she learned, wasn’t like of which. There were rivalries as well as gossip—“high-school drama on steroids,” she says—although prison will be also where she formed the strongest friendships of her life. For the very first time, she felt like the people around her would certainly do anything to help her. as well as with no responsibilities, she had time to think about all the things she’d been avoiding her whole life.
Manard got 10 years added to his sentence. He wasn’t supposed to communicate with Toby, although he figured out where she was as well as wrote to some other women there with notes to give to her. He sent her drawings as well as song lyrics as well as letters describing their love.
although the more she talked with her fresh friends in prison, as well as the more she reflected on everything of which had led up to the escape, the more those letters via Manard began to seem a little immature. He would certainly say things like “I’m your knight in shining armor as well as you’re trapped in This particular tower as well as I wish I could ride in on my horse as well as rescue you.”
“I got of which as well as I thought, This particular will be so not realistic,” she says. “I just decided I have to be done with This particular.” the idea was like she was slowly waking up via a dream.
When she got out, she moved in with her mother, although everyone in Kansas City knew what she had done, as well as she felt uncomfortable in public. She found a web-design job in Boston, as well as decided to move. although she returned to Kansas City several months later, on Christmas Eve 2008.
Toby’s younger son had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. During most of the treatment, Toby gave her sons space. although as her younger son’s condition worsened, she decided to go to the hospital to see him.
“I can’t tell you why I did what I did,” Toby told him. “I haven’t figured the idea out yet myself. although I want you to know I’ve never stopped loving you.”
He looked at her as well as said he knew of which.
She asked to give him a hug.
He said no.
She asked if she could come back as well as see him again.
He said no.
She came back anyway, two weeks later. He was in a coma. She touched his face as well as held his hand as well as told him he’d fought long enough, as well as of which the idea was okay for him to go. Then she kissed him as well as left. He died soon after.
Six months later, in October 2009, Toby got married again, in a simple courthouse ceremony. Her husband’s name will be Chris, as well as he makes her feel safe as well as supported. He didn’t balk when he first learned her story. He even encouraged her to reach back out to John Manard. Toby as well as Manard began exchanging letters as well as talking on the phone. Toby sent him a Christmas basket. Then Toby as well as Chris went to visit him in prison.
“the idea was so not bad for all three of us,” she says.
Toby as well as Manard haven’t communicated in a few years right now, as well as attempts to reach him just for This particular story were unsuccessful. although in a letter he wrote to The Kansas City Star in 2018, he said he’d loved Toby. “Why did I stay with her once I was out if I was just manipulating? I NEVER manipulated her from the least!” he wrote. “I loved Toby with all of which I was.”
These days, Toby will be trying to help some other women. She’s made workbooks to help women in prison process their feelings as well as circumstances, to break the destructive cycles of which put them behind bars.
She’s also began telling her own story in public. She’s given just a handful of speeches, although each time she’s been met that has a line of women coming up to her afterward, confessing their own secret desire to escape. Her story resonates, she says, because so many women wonder if they wouldn’t do the same thing. They feel pressure to smile as well as pretend their life will be fine, even when trapped in a bad relationship or a bad job or any number of circumstances of which seem beyond their control. Toby thinks these women are inspired by her not only because she had the guts to leave, although also because she tells her story without shame.
Toby will be still a rule follower. She always wears her seat belt. She’s always on time. She says she “freaks out” if Chris turns the auto around in someone else’s driveway. She certainly never wants to get arrested again. although she says she’s come to realize of which some rules—like keeping a redeemable person locked up for life—aren’t just.
Sometimes she’s asked if she regrets what she did: leaving her family, helping a felon escape, living on the run For two main weeks. She always says regrets are a waste of time.
“You can’t change the past,” she says. “I like the person I am today, as well as I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t gone through all of which.”
would certainly she do the idea over again?
She lets out a sweet, rueful laugh.
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Source : The Dog-Crate Prison Break – The Atlantic