Toby Dorr was a married mother of two who was running a dog program at a Kansas prison when she helped an inmate escape in February 2006. Dorr, who was known as Toby Young at the time, had met inmate John Michael Manard several months prior through the dog program and love slowly blossomed between the two, Dorr later said.
After some careful planning, Dorr helped Manard escape on February 12, 2006, in a dog crate and the two lived together in a cabin for 12 days until their capture and arrest in Tennessee, the Kansas City Star reported. The story made national headlines and Dorr became known as the “dog lady” of Lansing prison.
As part of a plea deal following her arrest, Dorr pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting aggravated escape and bringing contraband into a prison, the cellphone she’d smuggled in for Manard. She was sentenced to 27 months in prison and was released in 2008. Where is Toby Dorr today?
She Remarried & Is Now Living in Liberty, Missouri, & Is a Published Author
Dorr said she had some extremely low points during her incarceration and she thought about suicide multiple times. She told KMBC that her husband divorced her, her father died while she was in prison and she is still in the process of rebuilding her bond with her sons.
She told the Star, “Looking back, I was in jail for the exact right time I should have been because I spent all that time in prison reflecting on myself and the things I needed to change. I knew when I left prison that everything that I’d had before was gone. And I was going to have to start a new life and build it from scratch.”
She returned to Kansas City and lived with her mother for a few months but was struggling with being recognized so she moved to Boston for some time before returning to Kansas City later in 2008. Dorr obtained her Master’s degree in internet marketing and started her own marketing business.
Dorr, 63, is now living in Liberty, Missouri, where she has published a series of workbooks to help women in prisons and has been a guest speaker at various events. According to her website, she is working on a memoir and has created her own nonprofit, With Conviction, with the goal of helping inmates get reintegrated into society after their release, the NY Daily News reported.
Dorr Visited Manard in Prison With Her New Husband & Has Since Sent Him Gift Baskets at Christmas
Manard wrote Dorr letters while she was in prison serving her sentence, the Atlantic reported. He wasn’t supposed to have contact with her but he discovered in which facility she was being held and got letters to her through other inmates. Manard professed his love for her in these drawings and letters, such as one which read, “I’m your knight in shining armor and you’re trapped in this tower and I wish I could ride in on my horse and rescue you.”
According to Dorr’s interview with the outlet, she began to find his letters immature. “I got that and I thought, ‘This is so not realistic,” she told the Atlantic. “I just decided I have to be done with this.” After she moved to Boston, she met Chris Dorr and the two married in October 2009.
Dorr told the outlet her husband was supportive of what she’d been through and encouraged her to reconnect with Manard, write him letters and talk on the phone. Dorr and her husband even went to visit Manard in prison in New Hampshire in 2016 and Dorr told the Kansas City Star that the visit was great for all three of them.
Manard later told the outlet, “She has a good and loving man for a husband whom I like a lot, Chris is a good man. Toby couldn’t be in a better situation, and I hope the best for them.” The outlet reported that Dorr started sending Manard a Christmas basket each year.