Woman Found Living on Boat in Key West After 18 Years on the Run: Deputies

Deputies said Michelle Singleton was found on a boat using a different name.

A Kansas City woman who has been in hiding for 18 years was found Friday in Key West, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said 66-year-old Michelle Singleton was living in a houseboat under a different name almost two decades after she failed to appear in federal court for sentencing on charges of payroll check fraud in March of 1996.

When Monroe County detectives received a photo of Singleton, Sgt. Donald Catala said he had seen this woman several times in Key West. Deputies ran a records check that showed a woman by the name of Catherine Harris was living at an address in Hilton Haven, deputies said. She had a 1994 Honda with a Florida tag and a Florida driver's license that expired in 2012, according to authorities.

A comparison of Singleton's picture with the license photo of Harris confirmed they were the same person, deputies said.

Secret Service and local officials went to the houseboat Singleton was living on, which was moored at a pier at 15 Hilton Haven Drive, and found her there, deputies said. When they asked for her ID, she gave them her expired license. They then asked for a birth certificate, and she pulled it out a file, but when she did other pieces of paper fell out. Those papers turned out to be her real social security card and birth certificate, deputies said.

Singleton told deputies she had obtained a birth certificate with the name Harris on it one month after she fled Kansas City. She said she used that birth certificate to get her Florida Driver's license, but she hadn't renewed it because the rules had changed for applying for a license, according to deputies.

The woman admitted to being Michelle singleton and was taken into federal custody on fugitive charges, deputies said. She also said she was in the process of trying to sell her houseboat and move to the Dominican Republic, according to officials.

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