Inmate recaptured after 34 years on the run - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Inmate recaptured after 34 years on the run

An escaped inmate was who was convicted of an armed robbery in Muscogee County more than 30 years ago was captured in south Florida earlier this week. 

Willie Lee Austin was serving a 15-year sentence for an armed robbery in Muscogee County when he escaped from Macon, GA Central State Correctional Institute in 1981.

Austin, now 60, was originally convicted in 1977 for armed robbery in Muscogee County but was serving his time in the Macon when he escaped. His release date was Feb. 24, 1992 but 4 years into his sentence on Dec. 27, 1981 police say Austin escaped from the State Correctional Facility.

Austin has been a fugitive for more than three decades. Leaving many people wondering how he did it.

According to U.S. Marshal’s Supervisory Investigator Tony Schilling, Austin was using a fake identity. Investigators eventually got a hold of an address tied to that alias.

“He developed an alias. So we started looking into that and found out there may be someone using that identity in Florida,” Schilling said.  “The address was to a business address and so we did surveillance and eventually saw an individual come out that matched the alias identity.”

The Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force followed the individual as they left in a vehicle and pulled it over. Officials interviewed the man inside the car and eventually he admitted he was Austin.

He surrendered without resistance and is now being ordered to serve the rest of his sentence.

Inmates who escape typically do face additional charges when they are captured and face an increase to their sentence but Schilling says Austin has "no additional charges."

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