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Escaped prisoner from Georgia arrested in Lauderdale Lakes after 34 years as fugitive

U.S. marshals say Willie Lee Austin living in South Florida under alias

Willie Lee Austin was arrested in Lauderdale Lakes. He has been a fugitive since escaping from a Georgia prison in 1981.
Willie Lee Austin was arrested in Lauderdale Lakes. He has been a fugitive since escaping from a Georgia prison in 1981.

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – A fugitive who escaped from a Georgia prison in 1981 has been caught in South Florida.

U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Barry Golden told Local10.com that Willie Lee Austin was apprehended Thursday morning at a home in Lauderdale Lakes.

Golden said Austin disappeared after escaping from Central State Prison in Georgia.

Austin had remained a fugitive for 34 years until U.S. marshals in Georgia developed information that Austin might be living in South Florida under an alias, Golden said.

Marshals looked at the driver's license of a man using the last name "Jackson" and noticed that the man in the photograph bore a resemblance to Austin, Golden said.

"Lo and behold, the guy matched the picture -- obviously 30 years older -- of Mr. Austin," Golden said.

Austin had been convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to 15 years in the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Golden said Austin was booked into a Broward County jail awaiting extradition to Georgia.

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