Ohio killer escaped from prison, created new life in New Mexico

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – Forty-three years after a rapist and killer escaped from an Ohio prison, U.S. Marshals now know what happened to him.

Turns out he created a new life for himself, most of which he spent in New Mexico.

Shirley Campbell was one of the most dangerous escapees in the US but his alter ego, Edward Davis, was a man who blended in so well in New Mexico that the state hired him.

“We started looking at some of the old Ohio escapee cases and this is the one that we were looking at,” said Peter J. Elliot, United States Marshal.

Back in 1958, Campbell was a 20-year-old orderly at a hospital near Cincinnati when he sexually assaulted a 19-year-old nursing student in an elevator then threw her off the roof of the five story building.

He was sentenced to life, but in 1972 he escaped from an Ohio prison work farm.

Marshals recently learned he fled to California, where he started a new life as Edward Davis. He told people he was adopted, a Vietnam vet who’d lost his family in a fire, anything to hide his past.

They traced his steps to New Mexico. In the 80’s he made Roswell his new home.

He got married, received degrees from Eastern New Mexico University and got a job with the New Mexico Department of Labor as an employment counselor.

He died at his Roswell home in 2004 at the age of 64 from a massive heart attack. Marshals found the Edward Davis obituary this year.

Marshals say his wife had no idea about her late husband’s past. “To the best of our knowledge and again it’s our knowledge none of these individuals knew his true identity,” said Elliot.

KRQE News 13 contacted the New Mexico department of workforce solutions, which used to be the department of labor, to ask how they hired a fugitive with a fake name but have not heard back from them.

U.S. Marshals are now looking to see if Shirley Campbell, otherwise known as Edward Davis, is linked to unsolved crimes during his time on the run in California and New Mexico.

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