Real-life Shawshank escapee caught in Florida

Two mugshots show Frank Freshwaters in 1959, left, and when he was brought into custody Monday, May 4, 2015, right, after 56 years on the lam. (Photo Credit/Brevard County Sheriff’s Office)

MELBOURNE, Fla. (MEDIA GENERAL) – Movie buffs generally adore the 1994 critically acclaimed film “The Shawshank Redemption,” which tells the story of Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, who is wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Spoiler alert: Dufresne escapes after digging a tunnel for 17 years, inherits some laundered money and lives happily ever after near a Mexican beach.

On Monday, an actual Shawshank escapee was recaptured after 56 years on the lam.

Frank Freshwaters, known to his neighbors in Melbourne, Florida, as William Harold Cox, was taken into custody at his mobile home Monday, according to CNN.

Freshwaters pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter charges stemming from a 1957 car accident. After violating parole, Freshwaters was sentenced to serve up to 20 years at the Ohio State Reformatory where the movie “The Shawshank Redemption” was largely shot.

According to Peter Elliott, the U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, Freshwaters’ story actually mirrors that of the fictitious Dufresne. Freshwaters was “quickly able to earn the trust of the prison officials” and was transferred to an “honor farm,” Elliott told CNN. Unlike Dufresne, however, Freshwaters needed only seven months to plan his escape. Details of the escape never were released.

Authorities said Freshwaters has lived the past 56 years under several aliases and worked different jobs across the country.

Freshwaters, now 79 and bound to a wheelchair, is being held in Brevard County Jail and pending extradition back to Ohio, said Major Tod Goodyear of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.



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