For a decade, the disappearance of Bobbi Parker remained a mystery. Was she abducted and being held hostage by Randolph Dial, a murderer who had escaped from an Oklahoma prison? Or was Parker, the wife of the deputy warden, living with him on the lam willingly? Police caught up with the two last week in deepest southeast Texas, where the pair had been living and working on a chicken ranch--and posing as Richard and Samantha Deahl. Authorities arrested 60-year-old Dial--an accomplished artist and sculptor, in addition to being a murderer--and believe that he had taken Parker, now 42, at knife point and held her with threats. In a jailhouse interview, Dial himself said he'd warned Parker that if she tried to escape, he would harm her family. "I was a hostage taker and will probably live to regret it," he said. "But now I don't. Doing a life sentence, at my age, I wouldn't trade it."

Those who saw Parker in Texas knew something was wrong. "I saw her slapped and beaten," said Debra Grace, her employer. "I thought she was just an abused wife." She said she saw not a hint of romance between the two.

When Parker disappeared, her daughters were 8 and 10. She told a friend, Martha Rash, that she worried that her family wouldn't want her back. Turns out her husband, Randy Parker, was worried that she wouldn't want him anymore, either. But when the two were reunited last week, there seemed little doubt about their feelings. "They just looked at each other, and both of them took a deep breath," said Donna Clayton, a Nacogdoches County justice of the peace who saw the reunion, "and the next thing I knew, both of them were hugging and crying."