Convict who escaped from Oklahoma prison in 1981 arrested in Houston

HOUSTON - A convict who escaped from an Oklahoma prison in 1981 was arrested Thursday in Houston.

Stephen Michael Paris was taken into custody by U.S. marshals Thursday morning at his workplace.

"Mr. Paris has been an escape convict for the past 36 years," said Richard Hunter, chief deputy, United States Marshal for the Southern district of Texas.

Paris, 58, escaped from the Jess Dunn Correctional Center when he was 22 years old. He had served about 19 months of a nine-year sentence for possession and distribution of drugs at the time of his escape.

U.S. marshals said investigators noticed that an obituary for Paris' mother listed a son by the name of Stephen Michael Chavez.

Investigators said they tracked the name and found that Paris had been using the alias while living and working in Houston.

Paris was arrested at work this morning in southwest Houston.

By coincidence, officials said, Johnny Ray Williams, chief deputy for the U.S. Marshals Oklahoma City office, was in Houston on an unrelated business matter.

"The information that we received that led us to Houston obviously stemmed from the passing of his mother," Williams said.

A fingerprint was matched to confirm his identity, authorities said.

While Paris is in custody, waiting to be extradited to Oklahoma, officials said they are working to answer a series of questions about Paris and his alleged dual life.

"The questions I have -- how were you able to assume a new identity? Identity theft is very prevalent in the United States today," and figuring out how Paris was able to do so may help in future cases, Williams said.

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