Tough winter weather in Michigan was also a factor, Lt. Charles Levens of the state Corrections Department's Outstate Absconder Recovery Unit told U-T San Diego. He said he and other detectives, unable to leave the office because of icy roads, went through old files and compiled a list of fugitives, sending their fingerprints to the FBI.
They got a hit on Hayman with the prints matching a woman named Jamie Lewis who was busted in San Diego in 1980.
San Diego police arrested Hayman on Monday on a Michigan fugitive warrant.
Hayman escaped from the Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Mich., in 1977, 10 months into a sentence of 16 to 24 months for shoplifting from a Detroit-area store.
The disposition of the 1980 heroin charge is unclear, U-T San Diego said. Hayman legally changed her name to Jamie Lewis in 1983 and apparently lived quietly in San Diego, raising three sons who are now adults.
Neighbors said she has lived quietly in the same building for the past seven years.
Hayman is being held in San Diego pending extradition proceedings.