On June 6, 1975, a helicopter appeared over Jackson Prison and landed in the exercise yard. A lone inmate ran to the aircraft and jumped in, and the chopper lifted off and flew away.

Dale Otto Remling

The daring escape plan was the brainchild of affable criminal, Dale Otto Remling, a con artist who was serving time at Jackson for passing bad checks. It was not his first crime nor his first prison escape...

A close up photo of a man's face as he looks sideways with a slight smile.
Dale Otto Remling. [Jackson Citizen Patriot]

Remling was born in 1928 in Oklahoma. In 1955 he was convicted of identity theft and check fraud in California and sent to Soledad Prison. He managed to escape but was caught after three days and sent back to Soledad, where he served out his sentence. He died a free man in Bakersfield California in 1999.

Apparently, Remling was not rehabilitated, because in 1971 he stole an airplane (!) and again was tried, convicted and sent back to Soledad. He managed to escape yet again, and drifted east to Montcalm County, Michigan, where he adopted an alias, married and gained the confidence of the community. “He was a very nice fellow, and everyone liked him,” noted his wealthy father-in-law.

In 1975 Remling concocted one of the most well-known prison escapes in Michigan’s history - all from his Michigan State Penitentiary cell. With the help of a few outside accomplices, he hopped aboard a stolen helicopter and flew to freedom, however brief.

Remling’s downfall could have been predicted by even the most mundane criminal long before he soared over the walls of, what was then, the world’s largest walled prison. Focusing on every detail of his escape, he forgot to create a plan for once he was free.

His lack of planning got him captured a mere 13 miles from his cell in Leslie. Remling traded 30 short hours of freedom for 10 additional years behind bars, which was tacked on to his original 7 to 10-year sentence for check fraud and livestock theft. read more..

Cell Block 7 Museum inside the old Jackson Prison is closing it's doors permanently December 29th so all of you true-crime fans should make plans to visit the museum soon!  Here is their list of exhibits

Cell Block 7
3455 Cooper Street, Jackson

Hours: Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Thursday by appointment for groups up to 20 people or more.

Price: $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, military, police, corrections employees and Ella Sharp members, $8 for children ages 5-17.

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