ZEELAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A man who escaped South Carolina law enforcement custody over 35 years ago was found and arrested in Zeeland Monday afternoon.
Dallas Norman Smallwood was sentenced to five years in prison in Anderson County, S.C. in April 1977, for for housebreaking, grand larceny and receiving stolen goods. Authorities say he escaped from the Anderson County Stockade on Oct. 3, 1977. He was 21.
Smallwood was never found, so in June of 2013, investigators from the Marshals’ Operation Intercept Task Force in South Carolina adopted the fugitive case. The task force focused their sights on Michigan and determined Smallwood was using the name ‘Waylon Wilson’.
Authorities say he used that name to get a driver’s license in Texas and Kentucky before moving to Michigan.
The Deputy Marshals and Michigan State Troopers from the United State Marshals Service Joint Fugitive Task Force in Western Michigan used surveillance and database checks and found Smallwood was staying with someone at a residence in Zeeland and working a regular job.
Monday, agents went to the Zeeland residence and arrested him.
“I’m sure it was quite a shock to him,” U.S. Marshal Steve Hetherington said. “Maybe an average Monday afternoon for him and all of a sudden the U.S. Marshals and State Police show up at his door and say, ‘Hello, Dallas.’”
Smallwood initially denied his identity and had false identification documents in the name of Waylon Wilson. His identity was confirmed through fingerprint comparison at the Ottawa County Jail.
“You can run, but you can’t hide,” Hetherington said.
Smallwood’s girlfriend told 24 Hour News 8 she has lived with him for five years and had no idea that he was not who he claimed to be. A previous girlfriend who has known him since 2006 also said she was in the dark.
Smallwood is being held at the Ottawa County Jail awaiting extradition back to South Carolina. Authorities in that state will decide whether he should serve any more prison time, or whether they will will release him.