CARY, N.C. (AP) — All four inmates who overpowered two female corrections officers and escaped from a county jail in Ohio were caught Monday in North Carolina after more than a day on the run, authorities in both states said.
Three men who escaped from the Gallia County jail early Sunday were “captured without incident” at around 2 a.m. in Cary, North Carolina. Gallia County Sheriff Matt Champlin announced Monday afternoon that the fourth was taken into custody in Durham, North Carolina.
The fourth man, Lawrence R. Lee, 29, got away at the time Christopher Clemente, 24, Brynn Martin, 40 and Troy McDaniel Jr., 30, were being arrested. The four will be held pending extradition to Ohio.
Cary police said the North Carolina Highway Patrol had alerted the department that the men were in the area, around 370 miles (595 kilometers) southeast of Gallipolis, the city where the jail is located. The two agencies, along with Raleigh police and the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, remained onsite for two hours after the arrests to “conduct a thorough search,” police said.
No details were released immediately on the circumstances of Lee’s arrest.
Champlin has said authorities believe the escaped inmates had help from at least one person outside the southeast Ohio jail. The four inmates overpowered the two officers with a homemade weapon, forced open a secure door, entered the jail’s administrative wing and stole keys to a corrections officer’s vehicle and drove it about a block away, where another vehicle awaited them, Champlin said.
Champlin said authorities in Pennsylvania located the suspected getaway vehicle and believed Clemente was in the area, prompting the evacuation of the Westmoreland Mall outside Greensburg, Pennsylvania.
Clemente was being held for an indictment of two felony counts of complicity to trafficking drugs. Martin, who Champlin said escaped for the second time from the jail, is charged with breaking and entering, receiving stolen property, two counts of failure to appear, and escape — all felonies. McDaniel was being held for failure to appear from Gallia County Juvenile Court and Lee is charged with felony identity fraud and two misdemeanors: obstructing official business and assault.
Around 1:30 p.m., on Monday afternoon, Sheriff Champlin released the following statement: “I am pleased to report that just a short while ago the fourth and final escapee, Lawrence R. Lee III was taken into custody by law enforcement officials in Durham, N.C. I would like to thank the hard working law enforcement professionals who have tirelessly dedicated themselves to providing an end to the search for these escapees. Additionally, I want to thank everyone who has shown support for my office and our law enforcement across this great nation. Everyday, our jobs become tougher and more dangerous. My staff and I appreciate your continued prayers and support as we continue to work hard for you every day.”
(Editor’s note: Statement from Sheriff Champlin added to this report by Ohio Valley Pubilshing on Monday afternoon, shortly after its release to the media.)