HOUSTON (FOX 26) - U.S. Marshals say 22-year-old Stephen Michael Paris walked away from a minimum security prison in the fall of 1981 after serving 19 months for possession and distribution of drugs.
"There's a fair amount of freedom and responsibility inmates have so we can transition them for life outside," said Matthew Elliot with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
For the last several years, Paris worked as a senior employee with Bechtel Oil and Gas in Houston.
Marshall's say he went by the name of Stephen Michael Chavez.
"He had a very lucrative senior position with Bechtel, a major corporation and it seems he was able to make a life for himself," Elliot said. "But he had this situation from his past he should not have left unaddressed."
Paris AKA Chavez spent the last five years or so living on the corner of a quiet Katy street.
Neighbors say he lived alone, put up a fence, built a pool and had female visitors from time to time. They say he drove an expensive Mercedes.
When he walked out of his office on Thursday, he collided with his past wrongdoings. The cops were there to take him back to 1981 and his never forgotten decision.
"He tensed up initially and then he came clean. He told everyone 'yea I'm the guy you're looking for,'" Elliot said.
Ironically, it was his mother's recent death that led to Paris' arrest.
Cold case investigators saw the name Stephen Michael Chavez in her obituary and put two and two together.
Paris will be extradited back to Oklahoma to serve the remainder of his sentence.