Toby Young, now known by her married name Toby Dorr, was working at a Kansas prison when she met and fell in love with an inmate and eventually helped him escape in a dog crate. Dorr and John Michael Manard, who was at Lansing Correctional Facility serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, went on the run on February 12, 2006, living out of a cabin in rural Tennessee for 12 days until they were captured and arrested.
While they were on the run, the story captivated the country and Dorr became known as the “Dog Lady” of Lansing prison. She lived by all accounts a regular life, had always followed the rules and was married with two kids. After their capture, Manard said in a letter to KCTV, “We have a fairytale love the size of infinity that’s been lived by 2 real people. She means more to me than my own life,” LJ World wrote.
Dorr has since opened up about her story and provided more details about how she came to meet Manard and fall for the inmate she eventually helped escape.
Dorr Met Manard After She Started a Dog Program at the Lansing Correctional Facility & He Became Her Escort Around the Facility
In 2004, Dorr, a married mother of two and cancer survivor, started the Safe Harbor Prison Dog Program at the Lansing Correctional Facility, a program with the goal of allowing certain inmates to house dogs in their cells in preparation for the dogs’ adoption, the Atlantic reported. Over the following 18 months, she helped over 1,000 dogs get adopted through the program.
Dorr met Manard when she was 47 and he was 27, serving a life sentence for his role in a fatal carjacking at the age of 17. Manard was soon assigned to escort her throughout the prison after she was confronted by a couple of inmates on one occasion and the two began spending hours together, according to the outlet. She said although they weren’t allowed to touch, the chemistry grew between the two until one day, Manard asked her if she would be with him if he wasn’t in prison.
“He said, ‘If I wasn’t in here, would you be with me?’” Dorr told KMBC . “And I said, ‘I think I probably would. In his mind, I think he had the idea he could get out. I never anticipated that’s what he was talking about at the time.” She said Manard planned the escape through a dog crate he lost weight to fit in. Dorr took out $42,000 from her retirement savings and bought a 1997 Chevy pickup as a getaway car, NY Daily News wrote.
Manard & Dorr Were Captured After 12 Days Living in Tennessee Following an Outing in Chattanooga
The two were on the run for 12 days, living in northern Tennessee in a small village until they were eventually caught leaving a bookstore, KMBC reported. They had spent each day doing different activities, including going to the movies and Manard even bought Dorr a parakeet. On February 24, they were in Chattanooga to go to the IMAX theater and were spotted in the street by two U.S. marshals, the Atlantic reported.
On their way back to their cabin, the couple was arrested on Interstate 75, around 60 miles from where they’d been staying in rural Tennessee, NBC News wrote. They were driving on the highway and suddenly surrounded by police vehicles. Dorr told KMBC, “[Manard] said, ‘I think this is for us. I think they’re going to pull us over. What do you want to do?’” She said she replied, “‘Well, gosh, if they put on their lights and tell us to pull over, then we have to pull over.’”
Dorr was charged with aiding and abetting an aggravated escape, taking contraband into the prison, and providing firearms to a felon, the Atlantic wrote. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison, which would run simultaneously as her 21-month state sentence, the Oklahoman reported.
According to NBC News, after the sentencing, her attorney said, “As for remorse, I know for a fact she’s very sorry for what she did. She’s not happy about going to prison, but she’s going to make the best of the situation. She’s owning up to what she did and she’s going to jail.”