The woman identified as Cheryl woke up one day with the FBI cops knocking on her door. They came to arrest her husband for something that came as a shock to her.
As the police came in to make the arrest, she was left in a state of confusion and panic.
It turned out Walter Miller, her husband, who she knew as Bobby Love has been on a run from escaping a minimum-security prison long time ago. He rebelled as a child with bad company that led him to a juvenile detention facility Morrison Training School.
He ran away from the juvenile facility and escaped at his brother in Washington. Walter went to school, but soon mixed up with bad company that was robbing bank. During one of the robberies he was shot, arrested and sentenced to 25 to 30 in a maximum-security facility Central Prison.
During his stay at the Central Prison, his mother passed away and it shook it up that she didn’t get to see him turn for the better. He was committed to become a good person and was soon labeled as “the perfect inmate.” For good behavior, he was sent to a minimum security facility and escaped from there.
“I became the perfect inmate. I never had a mark on my record. My behavior was so good that they transferred me down the hill to a minimum security facility. This place was more like a camp. They still had gun towers and everything, but there was a lot of freedom. They let us walk around the yard. We could make phone calls. I even had my own radio show. It was a lot of fun. I recorded it every Wednesday, and they played it on the local college station. I was relaxed. I was feeling good. I had no plans to escape.”
Things turned for the worse for him when someone screamed “punk ass” at the prison captain and he was convinced it was him. Even though he was working in the kitchen when someone yelled that at the captain in the parking lot, he was convinced it was Miller. He then started picking on him.
“I tried to keep my head low. But the more I tried to do good, the more I got punished. He wrote me up for all kinds of phony things…The negative reports kept piling up, until I was one mark away from being sent back up the hill. And that’s when they started putting me on the road. It was the worst job in the prison. They’d call your name before sunrise, and you had to get on this bus. Then they’d drive you all over Raleigh to clean trash off the highways. It was awful. People would be throwing hamburgers and milkshakes at you. And it was almost winter, so it was starting to get cold. That’s when I started planning and plotting. I saved up my money. I memorized the bus route. I noticed that we always stopped at a certain intersection—right next to a wooded area. And I figured I could make that distance in no time at all. I also noticed that the guard who worked on Tuesday never searched the prisoners as they boarded the bus. So one Monday night, while we were watching the Colts game on TV, I made the decision. That was going to be my last night in prison.”
He cleaned out his locker so they could make no connection to him or someone close to him the next day, and he made a run for it when they drove to Raleigh.
“I got on the bus and went to the very back row, right next to the emergency exit…As we slowed down for a stop, I swung open the back door– and I was gone. I could hear the alarm blaring behind me, but I didn’t look back. I peeled off my green clothes and just kept running…”
“…I asked for directions to the Greyhound station. Everyone kept telling me: ‘Keep going, keep going, keep going.’ When I finally got there, I found a brother in the parking lot who agreed to buy me a one way ticket to New York. I waited until the last minute. I jumped on the bus right as the driver was closing the door. Then I slunk down in my seat while we drove out of Raleigh. Once we got on the highway, the girl next to me started making small talk. She asked me my name. I thought for a moment, and said: ‘Bobby Love.’ And that was the death of Walter Miller.”
Walter, now Bobby Love, arrived in New York in the late November in 1977 with 100 dollars, a single pair of clothes and a new identity he gave himself on the bus. He stayed in a fleabag hotel for two weeks and survived on hotdogs and marijuana before his money dried out and started sleeping on the trains.
He got a social security number by lying to a woman at the window that he lost everything and then got a hold of an original birth certificate that he scratched out his name and wrote down his new identity ‘Bobby Love’. He took it to a print shop and printed it so many times that it didn’t look fake anymore. He got it notarized at a funeral home and got a drivers licence with it. He used his new papers and got a job working in the cafeteria of the Baptist Medical Center.
He then meet his wife, Cheryl. He say he was attracted to her because she was the exact opposite of him, innocent and soft. He decided to keep his past a secret since Walter Miller died on the Greyhound bus out of Raleigh.
“I was a new man. I was Bobby Love now. And if that was enough for her, why complicate things? We got married in 1985. Time went by. We raised four children together. I just couldn’t risk it.”
Despite the urgings from his family to tell her, he said his wife was righteous person that won’t call the police on him, but would have made him call the cops on himself.
“She’d turn up the heat. So I just couldn’t tell her about Walter Miller. And there was no need. Bobby Love didn’t have a criminal record. Bobby Love was a family man. Bobby Love was a deacon at his church. Every Sunday our pastor would preach about forgetting the past, and forgiving ourselves, and looking ahead. And that’s exactly what I was doing. That part of my life was buried back in North Carolina. And it wasn’t coming back.“
Cheryl finally realized why he never wanted to be in photos.
“He never liked to be in photographs. And he always thought people were watching him. But I just thought it was vanity.”
When he got arrested, she felt the whole world crashing at her. She said:
When he was arrested in their home, she felt her world was crashing. She said:
“My world came crashing down. Bobby’s arrest was all over the papers. It seemed like the whole city was laughing at me. People at church would pull me aside, and whisper: ‘You knew about this right? You had to know.’ But I never knew. Forty years of marriage, four grown children, and I never knew. How could I be so stupid? I wanted to hide. I wanted to disappear.”
On her first visit to prison he broke down because he was sure Cheryl will leave him.
“His head was in his hands, and he told me: ‘I know, you’re going to leave me.’ I told him: ‘No Bobby Love, I married you for better or for worse. And right now this is the worst.’”
She then began writing letters to the governor and Barack Obama. She gathered testimonials from everyone that Bobby was a good man now. The parole board took mercy and released him after 10 years in prison.
“The day after he was set free, I sat him down and asked: ‘What is it? Are we the Loves? Or are we the Millers?’ And he said: ‘We Love. We Love.’ So I had him change his name legally. And now we’re moving on. I still have my resentments. When we get in a fight, I’ll think: ‘This man better appreciate that I forgave him.’ But the thing is– I did forgive him. And when I made that decision, I had to accept all the territory that came with it. I can’t make him feel that debt every day of his life. Because that’s not the marriage I want to be in. The whole world knows now. We’ve got no secrets.”