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Sheriff: Inmate’s escape ‘embarrassing’

Edwards
Edwards

From Staff Reports

An escape Saturday from the Lonoke County detention facility did not last very long, but it is still “embarrassing,” Sheriff John Staley said Monday. An internal investigation is under way, the jailers involved are on administrative leave pending the outcome, he said.

The investigation into the escape of Micah Lance Edwards, 22, of Cabot, has just begun, but it may point out that “Things may have gotten a little lax,” Staley said.

Edwards escaped about 7 p.m. Saturday, he taken back into custody Sunday afternoon. He had traveled overland about 15 miles.

“We have procedures to prevent things like this. It is embarrassing because I was talking last week about being careful about getting lax,” Staley said. Edwards has not said why he ran from the facility, “But it does not make much sense,” he remarked.

Edwards was being held on misdemeanor charges from the Ward and Springdale police departments.

“[Edwards] was being held on misdemeanors. He faced, what? A slap on the wrist? Maybe 30 days? Now he is facing a felony charge of escape and prison time,” Staley remarked.

Apparently either the door on the temporary cell had not latched or it was blocked from latching. The temporary cell is in the sallyport, a secure area for the transfer of prisoners from vehicles into the detention facility.

The sallyport is a drive-through with the entrance and exit secured by garage-style overhead doors.

With the cell door not latched, Edwards was able to bolt out the exit when a patrol car was leaving the sallyport.

Edwards evaded searchers and traveled overland north, apparently sheltering in a barn for the night.

On Sunday, Edwards approached a home on Arkansas Highway 236, telling the resident that his car had broken down. The suspicious resident called the sheriff’s office instead.

Edwards again tried to evade searchers, but was quickly found.

“That part worked,” Staley said. “We got the word out to residents so they knew what to do,” he said.

The incident is a wake-up call, Staley said. “[Edwards] was not considered violent or dangerous, but there are some bad people in here,” he remarked.

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