Linda Darby, a Boyd County native, was sentenced to life in imprisonment after being convicted for her husband’s murder in 1970. But what happened after her conviction?
Linda Darby poisoned, shot, and burned her husband’s body in 1970. She escaped prison two years into a life sentence. She began a quiet life as Linda McElroy in Tennessee, evading capture for 35 years before being apprehended and returned to prison in 2007.
Why was Linda Darby on the Run?
Linda Darby, who escaped from an Indiana prison to live a quiet life in a small Tennessee town 35 years ago, said Tuesday that she was as surprised as anyone she had managed to keep her secret.
Darby, 64, told NBC affiliate WSVM in Nashville that her third husband had no idea of her background. Their two children and eight grandchildren didn’t either. More than three decades ago, an inmate scaled an Indiana prison fence to avoid a murder conviction and start over,
I couldn’t burden people. It wasn’t fair. But then it was like, I was needed, and I filled in where I was needed. But where do you stop? What do you go back to? I cried myself to sleep a lot.Linda Darby
She also added that living a double life was nerve-racking at first. She burst into tears as she described raising her granddaughter, whom she has had custody of since the girl was nine years old. Darby said she understood that she had been living a lie. (Source: NBC News)
How Did Linda Darby Escape?
Darby insisted that she did not murder her second husband, Charles R. Darby, for which she received a life sentence in prison in 1970. His body, shot and stuffed into a bag, was discovered in the bedroom of the couple’s Hammond, Indiana, home, which had been set on fire and reeked of kerosene and gasoline.
She claimed that her attorney did not bother putting up a defense because he believed the prosecution’s case weak.
I’m not a murderer, and I just don’t know how they ever convicted me of murder.Linda Darby
On Friday, Darby was apprehended in Pulaski, Tennessee, a town of about 7,800 people near the Alabama border. She was scheduled to be returned to Indiana on Tuesday. Darby escaped from the Indiana Women’s Prison by climbing over a barbed-wire fence in March 1972.
I was scratched up and bloody from going over the barbed wire.Linda Darby
She eventually made her way to Tennessee, where she settled under Linda Joe McElroy and worked as a babysitter and housekeeper. (Source: NBC News)
Living a Flawless life after the Escape
As McElroy, She remarried and had two children with her third husband. Darby had five children from two prior marriages, one to Charles Darby and the other to another man. She claimed she hadn’t seen those children in 30 years, despite repeated attempts to reach them.
According to authorities and neighbors, Darby led a quiet life in Tennessee under her new name. Sheriff Kyle Helton of Giles County said he knew Darby a little and that she had lived in Pulaski for at least 30 years. Darby has a message for those who thought she was Linda McElroy rather than Linda Darby.
This is who I am, and I’m not a murderer. I didn’t do it.Linda Darby
(Source: NBC News)