Deputies continue search for escapee

Published 2:07 am Wednesday, May 10, 2006

By By Kerry Whipple-Bean
While Escambia County sheriff's deputies are still on the lookout for an escaped inmate, jail officials are also working on changes to make the facility more secure.
William Mitchell, 47, who was being held on state charges of receiving stolen property, escaped from the county jail in Brewton last Thursday. He apparently got through a hole in the chain-link fence around the exercise yard and then either jumped from the roof or made it through the outer fence surrounding the jail.
Mitchell, a black male, is 6'4" and weighs about 175 pounds. He has brown eyes and black hair.
Sheriff Grover Smith said Monday that jail officials have known of problems with the fence around the exercise yard.
"We knew that was a weak area," Smith said.
At the time of Mitchell's escape, inmates were being kept outside in the exercise area all day because of construction going on in their unit. Normally, they only spend about two hours a day outside.
Smith said making a hole in the chain-link fence isn't difficult to do, so he and jail officials are looking to reinforce that fence to prevent further escapes.
Three inmates escaped the jail in December by jamming the lock mechanism on a hallway door and then getting to the roof, where they jumped to make their escape. Shortly after, the county commission approved a contract to repair and replace a majority of the locks at the jail.
Mitchell will face additional escape charges once he is captured, officials said.
Anyone with any information is encouraged to call the Escambia County Sheriff's Office at 251-809-0741.
Sheriff's deputies have been assisted in their search by officers from the Brewton Police Department, East Brewton Police Department, Flomaton Police Department, Alabama State Troopers and Alabama Department of Corrections.

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