Was Water­ford man for­mer es­capee?

Simcoe Reformer - - FRONT PAGE -

SCRAN­TON, Pa. — An Amer­i­can prison in­mate who es­caped from a work de­tail af­ter a dev­as­tat­ing flood al­most a half-cen­tury ago may have ended up in Water­ford, where he died in 2003.

The U.S. Mar­shals Ser­vice says Wil­liam Van Scoten was work­ing on a State Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion-Dal­las prison de­tail aid­ing re­lief ef­forts in the Wy­oming Val­ley af­ter Hur­ri­cane Agnes caused wide­spread dam­age in 1972.

Van Scoten, who was 43 years old, was two years into a 10- to 20-year sen­tence on a bur­glary con­vic­tion.

Of­fi­cials said last week that a fam­ily mem­ber told them Van Scoten as­sumed the name of David Paul Hud­son and was liv­ing in On­tario and died in Au­gust 2003 in Water­ford of em­phy­sema and heart dis­ease.

A death no­tice pub­lished in Sept. 2, 2003 edi­tion of the Sim­coe Times- Re­former said Hud­son died at his res­i­dence on Aug. 30, 2003 at the age of 58. A wanted poster is­sued by the Penn­syl­va­nia Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions for Van Scoten in 1980 said he was born on Novem­ber 20, 1929.

Hud­son was sur­vived by his wife, two sons and a grand­son. His funeral was held in the chapel at the Thomp­son-Mott Funeral Home and he was buried at Green­wood Ceme­tery in Water­ford.

Mar­shals said they hoped to get con­fir­ma­tion through fin­ger­prints from au­thor­i­ties in Canada.

The Tren­to­nian news­pa­per, of Tren­ton, New Jer­sey, re­ported that Van Scoten’s son Dave Hud­son said Van Scoten told him about his past in the sum­mer of 2002 af­ter he re­turned home to Canada fol­low­ing ser­vice with the U.S. Marines. Hud­son told the pa­per that David Paul Hud­son would watch “Amer­ica’s Most Wanted” with rapt at­ten­tion when it aired.

“He would just sit there and have this look on his face, hop­ing he didn’t come on there,” he said. “I never knew for years, and then when I fi­nally found out, ev­ery­thing started to make sense.”

Van Scoten es­caped from Tren­ton State Prison in 1961 by fash­ion­ing a dummy and climb­ing over the walls, spend­ing five years on the run un­til his ar­rest in up­state New York.

In July 1972 he was serv­ing a term at SCI-Dal­las and was as­signed to a kitchen de­tail at In­de­pen­dent Hose Co. in Kingston when he fled, ac­cord­ing to the orig­i­nal wanted poster, The Ci­ti­zens’ Voice, of Wilkes-Barre, re­ported. Shortly af­ter­wards, he en­tered Lake Erie and “didn’t stop swim­ming un­til he was in Canada” at Port Dover, Dave Hud­son said.

Van Scoten then worked on tobacco farms, where he met his wife, and later had a dairy farm, had a heavy-equip­ment busi­ness and did de­mo­li­tion work, Dave Hud­son said. He also kept his two sons out of trou­ble.

“There was no screw­ing around,” Dave Hud­son said, adding that when he was grow­ing up “al­most all of our fam­ily friends were po­lice of­fi­cers.”

The U.S. Mar­shals Ser­vice said Cana­dian au­thor­i­ties gen­er­ally fin­ger­print those who die and it’s await­ing con­fir­ma­tion of Van Scoten’s iden­tity as David Paul Hud­son.

“It is im­por­tant that the pub­lic know and fugi­tives know, we will never stop search­ing for those who try and es­cape jus­tice,” U.S. Mar­shal Martin J. Pane said in a state­ment.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

This Feb. 1, 1980 wanted poster from the Penn­syl­va­nia Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions, reis­sued Aug. 1, 1987, shows Wil­liam Van Scoten, who au­thor­i­ties say es­caped from a prison work de­tail in 1972, in Kingston, Pa. Of­fi­cials said Oct. 6 that a fam­ily mem­ber told them Van Scoten as­sumed the name of David Paul Hud­son and died in Au­gust 2003 in Water­ford.

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