This article was originally published on Feb. 27, 2006.
For their 12 days together, John Manard and Toby Young lived two lives – one strangely domestic and another as fugitives, armed and calculating.
Young had jigsaw puzzles, pop fiction novels and a journal to pass the time. Manard had two new guitars, an amplifier, a mandolin and the sheet music to the jailbreak movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” The sex toys left behind they presumably shared, along with one unmade bed.
The log cabin that was their home since they fled Lansing Correctional Facility contained their belongings Sunday, just as they were Friday, when Manard and Young were apprehended by U.S. marshals near Chattanooga, Tenn., after a high-speed chase.
Authorities said they thought Young and Manard picked the cabin based on its remoteness – it’s one of several log cabins that make up a fishing resort on Dale Hollow Lake, several miles of twisting mountain road from the nearest small town. U.S. Marshal Denny King said Young read books and visited Web sites offering tips to would-be fugitives and runaways.
One of the recommendations: Head to areas with rough terrain, seek out sparsely populated wilderness, then drop off the map.
“Why’d they pick this place?” asked Kelli Suggs, a member of the family owning the cabins. “I’d go to Mexico. But I guess this is as good a place to disappear as anywhere.”
If something else brought them to Tennessee, “we haven’t been able to determine that,” according to King.
The area’s dense forests and gentle mountains make it attractive to those wishing to lie low.
“He’s not the first. There’s been two or three others,” said Arron Togia of nearby Jamestown. On Sunday, Togia did his wash at a coin-operated laundry visited by Manard. “If you want to be hid, you can be real hid up here.”
The couple paid the cabin’s owners for a month’s stay, but according to Ronnie Suggs, son of the camp’s owner, they had been talking about leaving for an even more remote area in Kentucky. Sure enough, Manard left a map of Kentucky unfolded on the bed.
Federal marshals said Manard and Young were planning to create forged identity papers – they had a computer, a printer and high-quality paper to create business cards and official-looking documents.
King said he thought the couple’s plans were foiled because they grew complacent and let their guard down, convinced they were one step ahead of the law. This might explain why they felt comfortable enough to leave their two handguns in the cabin when they ventured into Chattanooga to shop.
“I think they were getting comfortable,” King said. “I think they thought they had prepared well enough.”
The belongings left behind in the cabin reflect two different people, united in desperate flight, and, so said the cabin’s owners, something that looked like love.
Manard had a PlayStation, a pornographic DVD and his musical instruments.
Young had two jigsaw puzzles – one of Big Ben and another, about a quarter complete, of a bouquet of wild flowers – and a stack of novels. A piece of her former life – a key chain shaped like a dog bone – lay attached to her bag.
Other items left in the cabin speak to the relationship between the two. Numerous sex toys, whips and kinky lingerie littered the floor. Of the cabin’s two beds, only one appeared slept in.
The couple had a more mundane side, too. Manard went into Jamestown to do laundry. He asked the cabin’s owners for new batteries for the cabin smoke detector. They had Scrabble and card games. Their larder was stocked with cereal, pasta, Pop Tarts and blackberry wine coolers. They had a disposable mop and several bottles of liquid cleaner.
The cabin’s owners said they assumed Young and Manard were a couple on vacation. Young was seen riding in the middle of the seat of their truck, with her arm on him. She played with the neighbors’ dogs. Manard was friendly and polite. The only thing about them that seemed out of place was they never went fishing. The lake is known in the area for its prime walleye.
“We thought it was a romantic honeymoon,” said Kelli Suggs. “They were definitely an item.”
On one of their shopping expeditions, they bought a blue parakeet. They also had a large cushy dog bed, as if the couple was planning to get a dog. After his capture, Manard told marshals to look after the bird.
“He said, `I’ve got a bird in the cabin,’” said Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Tony Crawford.
The bird now lives with one of the marshals in his Nashville home.
The two fugitives spent their time like a couple on vacation. They caught a movie – “Walk the Line.”
The couple’s domesticity surprised the marshals.
“Most of the time there’s not as much pre-planning, and they don’t bed down like this,” King said. “For two weeks, it was like Christmas for them.”
Proceedings to extradite the two back to Kansas could begin as early as today, when both are to appear in separate Tennessee courtrooms. Young’s hearing will be at 10 a.m. in McMinn County, where she is being held.
Manard will appear at 8:30 a.m. in Hamilton County, said the local sheriff, John A. Cupp Jr.
However, the court hearings could be moved to federal court if the U.S. attorney decides to press charges immediately.
The upcoming ‘Dateline’ story — titled “Breakout” — features interviews with Toby Dorr (Young) and David McKune, who was the warden at Lansing Correctional Facility when the escape happened. It is scheduled to air Friday at 9 p.m.