Atmore resident escapes custody

Published 7:56 am Monday, August 20, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell
For more than eight hours, law enforcement officials and tracking dogs attempted to capture an Atmore man who escaped from custody of the Escambia County Detention Center.
Just before 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Michael McGhee escaped from a minimum-security work release facility as he was being transferred to the main facility of the center. Local law enforcement officials began the search for McGhee at the time of the escape and continued until 1 p.m. when the search was suspended, according to Escambia County sheriff Grover Smith.
As the hunt progressed, officials requested the assistance from Fountain Correctional Facility and the Santa Rosa County Correction Facility from Century, Fla. A helicopter operated by George VanNevel with Century Helicopter Service also assisted in the search.
"Due to the heat and humidity, we decided it would be best to suspend the search Wednesday afternoon," Smith said. "The dogs were exhausted and so were the officers."
Smith said McGhee's girlfriend was arrested on traffic violations and evidence of her contact with McGhee during the search will be presented to a grand jury in the near future. Smith was unable to provide the woman's name at press time Friday.
"We will be presenting evidence to the grand jury that we have indicating the young woman had made contact with McGhee concerning his escape," Smith said. "We certainly believe there will be a grand jury indictment on her based on our evidence."
The search for McGhee covered an area from the Escambia County Detention Center on St. Nicholas Avenue through to an area northeast of Brewton just off of Alabama 41, Smith said.
The 33-year-old McGhee was being held at the Escambia County facility on original charges of drug possession. Because of his actions on Wednesday, he now faces felony escape charges, Smith said.
Smith is asking for assistance from the public in locating McGhee or information that will help lead law enforcement officials to his location.
He is described as an Indian male, 33 years old, 5'9" and weighing about 160 pounds. Anyone with information concerning McGhee or his whereabouts is asked to contact the Escambia County Sheriff's Department at 867-0304.

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