Fun’s over for Frank Freshwaters: Investigators catch fugitive who escaped real-life Shawshank in 1959



This pair of photo shows shows Harold Frank Freshwaters, left, in a 1959 Ohio State Reformatory photo and right, in a Monday booking photo released by the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

An American fugitive who once spent time in an Ohio jail featured in the film The Shawshank Redemption has been recaptured after 56 years on the run.

Frank Freshwaters made his escape in 1959, in a case that bears some similarity to the Oscar-nominated film.

Freshwaters was jailed for violating bail conditions after an earlier conviction for manslaughter for killing a pedestrian with a vehicle in July 1957.

Although the details of his escape have not been disclosed, Freshwaters was said to have gained the trust of prison authorities. The Shawshank Redemption starred Tim Robbins as a jailed banker who befriended the guards and helped the warden launder money, eventually escaping with the proceeds.


Freshwaters was tracked down by cold case investigators to Florida, where he was living under an assumed name and had worked as a lorry driver. They persuaded him to sign some paperwork to obtain his fingerprints so they could confirm his identity and arrest him.

He had earlier been imprisoned at the old Ohio State Reformatory, the prison that was used for filming Shawshank. By the time of his escape, he had been moved to a lower-security site.

The 79-year-old admitted his true identity when authorities confronted him on Monday, police said. “We couldn’t go with a picture and see if it’s that guy,” said Major Tod Goodyear. “You look different than you do 50 years ago.”