Homecoming Party Planned for Jailbreak Mom

Heroin conviction and subsequent prison break are water under the bridge

A Carmel Valley, Calif. mother known as "the fugitive mom" returns home this week, where she will be greeted with friends and family after nearly a year behind bars.

Susan LeFevre -- who was living in California under the name Marie Walsh -- seemed to be living a storybook life when U.S. Marshals tracked her down and sent her back to Michigan to finish a prison term for a drug conviction.

LeFevre escaped from a Detroit prison more than 30 years ago after a state trooper testified that she was the ringleader of a Michigan heroin enterprise. Tuesday, she'll get a welcome home party.

Her prison-break plan, as she explained it, was simple enough: She escaped notice of the guards, climbed over a barbed wire fence, and then located a vehicle. Inside the automobile, her grandfather and another relative said a rosary while they waited for her.

LeFevre's husband and two daughters apparently knew nothing about her criminal past. As such, a local psychologist with knowledge of the party predicted a happy -- but emotionally difficult -- homecoming.

"I've been through 30 years of paying off a debt," LeFevre said in an interview from prison. "I hope that there's some consideration for the fact that I did turn my life around."

George Pratt, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital, said the party would offer LeFevre "some kind of a ceremony, a ritual, welcoming back, a new beginning."

"They were being mislead," Pratt said of the family. "So then that causes us to think, 'Wow, the world is not very predictable. Thinks can change all of a sudden.' It's almost like a death."

Pratt said the family had to be deeply affected by LeFevre's sudden arrest and return to prison, and could be suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress syndrome.

The impending return is the talk of the suburb. Next door neighbor Hank Greenberg said, "It's about time she came home. It's too bad she had to go away in the first place." He says that as far as he's concerned, she's still Marie Walsh.

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