Bobbi Parker was allegedly held hostage by convicted murderer Randolph Dial after helping him escape the Oklahoma State Reformatory in 1994, but some in law enforcement believed they were truly in love.
In 1994, the wife of a prison warden in Oklahoma named Bobbi Parker was kidnapped by a violent murderer during his escape, then held captive by him for almost 11 years. Randolph Dial was reportedly a master manipulator and used a combination of violent threats, drugs, and brainwashing to keep Parker under his thumb while forcing her to pose as his wife on a chicken farm in Texas.
Finally, in April 2005, police tracked Dial down, stormed his farm, and took him into custody before returning Parker to her husband. But the story was far from over, and three years later, Parker herself would be prosecuted — for helping Dial escape so the two could become lovers.
To this day, some say Parker was a hostage while others say she was an accomplice. But where exactly does the truth lie in the bizarre story of Bobbi Parker and Randolph Dial?
Bobbi Parker Meets Randolph Dial
Bobbi Parker lived right next to the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite with her husband, deputy warden Randy Parker, and the couple’s two daughters, aged eight and ten. Among the inmates of the medium-security facility next door was Randolph Dial.
Dial was an accomplished artist and sculptor who had received a life sentence for the 1981 murder of a karate instructor. Drunkenly confessing to the murder in 1986, Dial claimed it was a contract killing for the mob. Dial was also a fantasist who wrote prison letters to his friends regaling them with tales of his Delta Force exploits in Vietnam, or of his work for the CIA, Secret Service, and FBI, according to The Washington Post.
At the reformatory, Dial had been granted special privileges, meaning he could stay in minimum-security housing outside the prison walls. Dial convinced officials to let him start an arts program to raise money for inmate rehabilitation.
Soon, he was using a kiln in the Parkers’ garage, which had been converted into a ceramic studio, for his inmate pottery program. As Dial became a daily fixture in the Parker home, Bobbi Parker volunteered and often spent time alone with Dial in the studio.
Parker’s Sudden Disappearance — And Rediscovery 11 Years Later
On the morning of Aug. 30, 1994, Randy Parker left for work as usual and saw Dial working in the garage/ceramic studio. When Randy returned to the house that afternoon, Parker wasn’t there, but she had left a note saying she had gone shopping, so nothing seemed amiss.
It wasn’t until that evening that worry set in, and Randy realized he hadn’t laid eyes on Dial since that morning. He asked an officer to check Dial’s cell, and when it was discovered that Dial was not there, he feared Dial had escaped — abducting his wife in the process.
That night, Parker called her mother to pass a message on to her daughters: “Tell the kids I’ll see them soon.” Parker called twice more over the next few days, but none of the calls were to her husband. When Parker’s minivan turned up in Wichita Falls, Texas, empty apart from Dial’s brand of cigarettes, more than 10 years would go by until Bobbi Parker was seen again.
On April 4, 2005, a tip from America’s Most Wanted sent the police to Campti, Texas, where a local had come across a familiar face from the show. As police forced entry to a mobile home on a rural chicken farm, in the Piney Woods near the Louisiana border, they discovered Dial and Parker living under assumed identities, as Richard and Samantha Deahl. Dial was arrested peacefully, but a loaded pistol was on the table and a shotgun by the door.
Dial told reporters assembled outside the jail that he had abducted Parker at knifepoint during his escape from Oklahoma State Reformatory, brainwashing her into staying with him in as they moved across various Texan cities and towns, and then onto the chicken farm in 2000, according to Chron.com.
Dial admitted he “went to work” on Parker threatening her family, but he never would’ve followed through with them. Dial’s previous wife would have disputed that, when she told investigators that Dial made her unable to think for herself and tricked her into helping him commit murder in 1981. Then, four months later, she was shot and killed herself in an unsolved murder.
What Really Happened Between Bobbi Parker And Randolph Dial?
When Parker was found she and her husband had an emotional reunion and told the media that they wanted privacy. Parker found it hard to talk about, and Randy preferred not to ask too many questions. He did notice differences in her behavior though, as Parker would ask first if she could go to the bathroom or get herself a drink from the fridge.
Meanwhile, in Texas, agents from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation were making puzzling discoveries in the mobile home on the chicken farm. Agents found condoms and numerous Valentine’s Day cards the pair had exchanged. Residents thought Parker appeared unhappy and was often nervously looking over her shoulder, then coworkers said Dial was fired from the chicken farm, and Parker explained that his ailing health was the reason he couldn’t work elsewhere.
Those who stopped by their mobile home though saw Dial working on his art projects while Parker worked in brutally hot conditions at the chicken farm. Their visitations were usually met by Dial and his gun demanding to know why their car was pulling up to his trailer.
It was discovered that every few weeks Parker had driven to a grocery store in Center, Texas, where she cashed her paychecks, and bought supplies. From here she could have just driven away or attended the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office located directly across the street from the grocery store.
In 2004 Dial had a heart attack and was rushed to hospital, and here seemingly was another golden opportunity for Parker to escape, but instead Parker wrote Dial a heartfelt letter, staying by his side.
Dial’s psychological hold over Parker became apparent when another woman admitted to being coerced by Dial into taking Parker on those shopping errands. Under condition of anonymity the woman, who was a former high school teacher of Dials said he threatened to harm her family. Parker and her came up with plans to escape at least three times but would then talk each other out of it according to CBS News.
Prosecuted For Helping Randolph Dial Escape
In April 2008, almost three years after her liberation from a Texan chicken farm, Parker was arrested and charged with felony charges of helping Dial escape from prison. By this time Dial had passed away the previous year, always maintaining that he had taken and held Parker as his hostage.
It took another three years to reach trial as the prosecution alleged Parker was in love with Dial and had helped him escape. Parker’s defense attorneys maintained Dial had drugged, kidnapped, and repeatedly raped Parker.
On the day of Parker’s disappearance, a former inmate working the reformatory grounds testified that he saw Parker drive away with Dial in the family minivan, giving him a startled look as she passed. A previous psychological report from the Oklahoma State Reformatory had confirmed that Dial was very manipulative, especially around women, and with Dial’s freedom to roam the grounds it was argued he could have escaped on his own without Parkers’ help.
In the end, Bobbi Parker received a one-year sentence for aiding Dial’s escape and served six months before being released on April 6, 2012.
After learning about Bobbi Parker, read about history’s most astonishing prison escapes. Then, learn about Yoshie Shiratori, the “Japanese Houdini” who escaped from prison four times.