DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A convicted killer who made a brazen escape from the Ionia Correctional Facility in mid-Michigan on Sunday night has been captured in Indiana.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Ron Galaviz tells WWJ that Michael Elliot was captured in LaPorte County, Indiana.
“Deputies from the LaPorte County Indiana Sheriffs Department took Michael Elliot into custody following a short vehicle pursuit,” said Sgt. Galaviz. “One of their deputies came across a vehicle that was reportedly stolen out of the city of LaPorte. While attempting to stop the vehicle, the vehicle reportedly sped away, at which time a short vehicle pursuit ensued.”
Authorities are now left to sort out exactly how Eliot, 40, was able to get out of the Michigan prison Sunday night. Authorities say Elliott peeled a hole in two fences with his hands to escape. Those fences are equipped with motion sensors to alert guards and also carry electric current to shock anyone who touches them.
“It appears that did not happen. … He was not zapped with electricity, and he was not picked up by the motion sensors,” prisons spokesman Russ Marlan said.
Elliot wasn’t discovered missing until about two hours after he escaped. “There was a perimeter vehicle with an armed officer who was circling the facility during this time period. (Elliot) was able to evade or avoid detection,” Marlan said.
Officials said Elliot, who had a record of good behavior during his 20 years in custody, wore a white kitchen uniform to evade security and blend in with snow. Once outside the prison, Elliot abducted a woman and stole her Jeep, authorities said.
The woman was able to call 911 from a concealed cellphone while Elliott was pumping gas at a store some 100 miles south near Middlebury in Elkhart County, Ind., authorities said. She ran to a restroom and locked herself inside. Elliot knocked on the door, but she stayed inside until police arrived. Her red Jeep was later found abandoned nearby in Shipshewana on Monday.
The discovery prompted officers to go door-to-door in the area. Residents were warned to stay inside and at least one school as locked down. An alert was issued to law enforcement nationwide. The woman told police that Elliot was armed with a box cutter and a hammer, and had said he wanted to get as far from the Michigan prison as possible.
Authorities tracked him down after the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department got a report of a car stolen from a factory in the city of LaPorte, said sheriff’s Maj. John Boyd. A deputy who happened to be nearby spotted the stolen Chevrolet Monte Carlo “within a few seconds,” Boyd said.
Once the car was stopped, Elliot tried to unsuccessfully to run, Boyd said. But he was arrested and taken to the LaPorte County Jail, where he was being held without bond. He’s awaiting extradition to Michigan.
Elliot was serving life in prison without parole for fatally shooting four people and burning down their Gladwin County house in 1993 when he was 20-years-old. At the time, Elliot and his accomplices were trying to steal money from a drug dealer, police said.
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