Fugitive returned to Mississippi prison 35 years after he escaped
Hands behind bars in prison or jail (Shutterstock)

A man who escaped from a minimum security prison in Mississippi 35 years ago was captured in Utah and returned to Mississippi to serve out the remainder of his sentence, officials said on Friday.


Sam Harris, 62, was sentenced in 1979 to six years in prison for burglary and possession of burglary tools, the Mississippi Department of Corrections said in a statement.

He escaped from the Forrest County Community Work Center in southern Mississippi the following year, the department said.

Mississippi authorities learned of Harris's whereabouts from the FBI, the state's prisons department said. He was extradited from Utah on Sunday.

Before his arrest in January, Harris had lived in the town of Wellington, about 100 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, for 23 years, KSL-TV quoted a local sheriff as saying.

During his decades on the run, Harris had come into contact with law enforcement and had used aliases, said Mississippi Department of Corrections spokeswoman Grace Fisher.

Harris will not incur additional prison time for his escape because fleeing from a community work center was at the time a misdemeanor, the department said in its statement.

He will be eligible for release in 2018.

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)