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crimesider

Grandson Finds Fugitive who Killed His Grandfather Four Decades after Murderer Vanished

Frank Dryman (AP/Montana Dept. of Corrections)
Frank Dryman (AP/Montana Dept. of Corrections)
HELENA, Mont. (CBS/AP) Frank Dryman first escaped hanging, then he just escaped.

In 1955, Dryman was sentenced to life in prison for murder. But three years after his 1969 parole, Dryman vanished, breaking the terms of his parole.

But now, after nearly four decades as a fugitive, Dryman has been found. The grandson of Clarence Pellett, the man Dryman murdered, hired an investigator who tracked the fugitive down. And found Dryman at his Arizona City notary and chapel business, where he was known as Victor Houston.

Cactus Rose Wedding Chapel (AP/Casa Grande Dispatch)
Dryman was arrested Tuesday by police and is awaiting extradition back to Montana.

Clarence Pellett's grandson, Clem Pellett, says he pursued the killer to fill a hole in his family's memory.

Newspaper clippings from the time say that Clarence Pellett stopped to pick up Frank Dryman in 1951 during a spring blizzard near Shelby, a small town in northern Montana.

Clarence Pellett, who ran a cafe, was shot seven times in the back as he tried to run away, according to the accounts.

The private investigator hired by the grandson used scores of documents the family dug up from old parole records, the Montana Historical Society and Internet searches to trace Dryman to the Cactus Rose Wedding Chapel.

Clarence Pellett told Montana corrections officials of the discovery. Officials said Dryman acknowledged his identity to officers.

The Montana Department of Corrections said that Dryman will be sent back to the state prison. He will face a parole revocation hearing within the next few months - and possible resumption of his life in prison sentence.