A woman has opened up about the shocking moment she discovered her husband of 30 years was an escaped convict who had been living under an alias for decades after law enforcement showed up at their front door.
Chery Love and her husband Bobby, who was born Walter Miller, were promoting their new book, The Redemption of Bobby Love: A Story of Faith, Family, and Justice, when they sat down for an interview with Today host Al Roker.
In the segment that aired on Friday’s show, Cheryl, 58, reflected on how she came to forgive Bobby, 70, and stayed by his side after his nearly 40-year-old secret changed her life as she knew it.
Say what? Cheryl Love opened up to the Today show about the moment that she found out her husband Bobby was an escaped convict who had been on the run for nearly 40 years
Young love: Bobby, who was born Walter Miller, Cheryl at the Brooklyn medical center where they both worked in the early 1980s
Bit secret: Bobby never told her that he had escaped from a prison in North Carolina in 1977 and fled to New York, where he changed his name
‘I was fixing a cup of tea, and there was this loud knock at the door,’ she recalled of the fateful day her husband was arrested at their home in Brooklyn, New York in January 2015.
Crime: Bobby was sentenced to 25 to 30 years in prison after he was arrested for armed robbery in 1971
‘So I just went and opened the door, and lo and behold FBI, the New York City Police, with their guns drawn. “Stand back, mam. You don’t know who this is.”
‘What? And I’m looking at Bobby, like, “Honey, what are they talking about?” But he’s not looking at me.’
Cheryl remembered feeling overwhelmed and crying as the police spoke with her husband, a fugitive bank robber from North Carolina who had changed his identity.
‘They said to me, “What’s your name? I said, “Bobby Love,”‘ Bobby explained. ‘They said, “No, I want your real name.” Then I said, “Walter Curtis Miller.”‘
Looking back on his criminal past, Bobby explained that there was little opportunity for him growing up as a black child in the Jim Crow South.
Happy couple: Bobby and Cheryl got married in 1985 and had four children together
On the straight and narrow: Bobby worked multiple jobs, coached Little League, and served as a church deacon, never once getting in trouble with the law
Honest: Bobby said he never told Chery the truth because he knew she would make him turn himself in
‘I was young,’ he said. ‘I just wanted more than what I had, and I started stealing.’
In 1971, Bobby was arrested and charged with armed robbery. After he was convicted, he was sentenced to 25 to 30 years in prison. He served seven years before he escaped from a prison transport bus in North Carolina in 1977.
‘When the bus got to a certain point, making the turn on that intersection, I jumped off the back of the bus,’ he recalled. ‘I found my way to the bus station in Raleigh.’
The fugitive fled to New York and changed his name, starting his life as ‘Bobby Love.’ He met Cheryl in the early 1980s while they were both working at a Brooklyn medical center.
They married in 1985 and had four children. Bobby stayed on the straight and narrow, working multiple jobs, coaching Little League, and serving as a church deacon.
Hard to handle: In January 2015, law enforcement showed up at their home in Brooklyn and re-arrested the fugitive bank robber, who was extradited back to North Carolina
True love: Cheryl stayed by Bobby’s side, and he was released from prison in 2016, less than a year after his secret was revealed
Happy: The former convict is on parole until 2024, but he is grateful for how his life turned out. ‘I’m the most fortunate person I know,’ he said
Bobby never told Cheryl about his checkered past.
‘I found Cheryl to be very honest about everything,’ he told Roker. ‘She probably would have told me to turn myself in.’
‘Absolutely,’ she agreed.
Bobby admitted he wasn’t worried about getting caught, explaining: ‘I said to myself, “I’m not ever getting into any more trouble.”‘
Then law enforcement showed up at his door in 2015, and he was extradited back to North Carolina to complete his sentence.
Authors: The couple shared their story in their new book, which was published last week
Cheryl recalled the first time she heard the name her husband was born with, saying she was speaking to a lawyer in New York the day he had gotten arrested.
‘She called me. She goes, “Cheryl, so when you go to see Bobby, you’re gonna say I’m here to see Walter Curtis Miller,’ the mom explained. ‘When I hung that phone up, I said to my daughter, “That’s your father’s name!”‘
The secret could have easily destroyed their relationship, but Cheryl’s love for Bobby never wavered.
‘I said, “You’re gonna get out of there. You’ve been doing the right thing. God will forgive you for your past. And I forgive you. I want you to forgive yourself too,”‘ she shared.
Bobby was released from prison in 2016, less than a year after he was re-arrested. Not only had he completed his original term, but he was also free from his decades-long secret.
‘I feel like a big burden has been lifted off my shoulders,’ he told the Daily News at the time.
Bobby and Cheryl’s love story went viral after their shared the unbelievable account with the popular photoblog Humans of New York in February 2020.
The former convict is on parole until 2024, but he is grateful for how his life turned out.
‘I say my prayers when I go to bed. I say my prayers when I get up in the morning,’ he told Roker. ‘I’m the most fortunate person that I know. Really.’