The Herald Bulletin

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February 3, 2014

Police: Michigan escaped prisoner captured

IONIA, Mich. — A convicted killer who peeled a hole in two fences with his hands to escape from a Michigan prison before abducting a woman and fleeing to Indiana was captured Monday evening after a chase, authorities said.

Officials were stunned by the brazen escape Sunday night of Michael David Elliot, who had a record of good behavior during his 20 years in custody. He wore a white civilian kitchen uniform to evade security and blend in with snow at the Ionia Correctional Facility in western Michigan, prisons spokesman Russ Marlan said.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Ron Galaviz said Elliot was captured in LaPorte County after a police chase.

That chase began after authorities there got a report of a vehicle stolen from a factory in the city of LaPorte, said sheriff's Maj. John Boyd. A deputy who happened to be nearby spotted the vehicle "within a few seconds," Boyd said.

Authorities chased the vehicle through the city and into a rural area of Kankakee Township several miles away, where law enforcement used stop sticks to disable it.

Boyd said Elliot was arrested and taken to the LaPorte County Jail.

How exactly Elliot was able to get out of the Ionia prison remains unclear. Fences were equipped with motion sensors to alert guards. The fences also carry electric current to shock anyone that touches them.

"It appears that did not happen. ... He was not zapped with electricity, and he was not picked up by the motion sensors," Marlan said.

Once outside the prison, Elliot, 40, abducted a woman and stole her Jeep. The woman, who was not hurt, escaped late Sunday when he stopped for gas in Middlebury, Ind., some 100 miles to the south. The woman's red Jeep was found abandoned nearby in Shipshewana on Monday.

At least one school was locked down, residents were warned to stay inside and officers went door-to-door in the area.

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