Run to Ground

Inmate Terry Banks broke out of jail in Missouri, prison guard Lynette Barnett by his side. They disappeared for seven weeks - until the law caught up with them in a Victoria County, Texas, trailer park.

"At least it ought to be the same as the person who had escaped," Relford says.

Lynette's sisters still insist that she is absolutely innocent. They think the surveillance videotape was tampered with. They blame the prison security, not Lynette.

"What all the newspapers are saying is pretty much false," Lorra says. "They're making her out to be the bad guy here when she's the victim. This couldn't have happened if the people in the control tower were doing their job. They're the ones that let the convicted murderer out. If the people in the control tower had been doing their job, Terry Banks would never have walked out. That's the part they're not telling. It's pretty easy to shove it all off on Lynette. They've convicted her in the newspapers and TV, and they haven't even got a tenth of the story."

Life wasn't as sexy as Lynette's glamour shot.
Life wasn't as sexy as Lynette's glamour shot.

Lorra doesn't offer much more, though. She says the day of the breakout was an ordinary day for Lynette. "She went to work, went home," Lorra says. "What [happened] after that, I'm not going to say at this point. I think that's gonna come out soon enough -- it's not like they say."

She won't say if Lynette actually told her that, or if she just decided it herself. On Friday afternoons Lorra brings Lynette cigarettes, Cheetos, Diet Pepsi, Pringles and pieces of paper to draw on. Lynette likes to sketch farm animals, like the ones on the ranch where she was raised.

Lynette's mother and sisters get ten- to 20-minute visits with her in the sheriff's office. Her husband hasn't stopped by yet.

Legally Lynette and Dave are still married. Having watched the videotapes, Dave now believes that Terry Banks is what went wrong with their marriage. Tired of talking to reporters (since, like Lynette, he doesn't like talking to strangers), he has decided to write a book. Maybe then people will leave him alone, he says.

Dave says he has a lot to say to Lynette, but he hasn't spoken to her since before she ran off. As an officer at the Western Missouri Correctional Center, he's not allowed to have personal interaction with offenders. His wife may have broken that rule, but he won't.

E-mail Wendy Grossman at wendy.grossman@

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