Darren Doyle, story
Sheriff Shane Doyle has informed the Edmonson Voice that the search for escaped inmate, Craig Troutman, (22) is still underway.
Troutman escaped from the Edmonson County Courthouse this morning under the supervision of the Edmonson County Jailer's Office.
According to Jailer Hank Vincent, seven inmates were transported to the courthouse from Hart County Jail this morning to appear in court. Vincent said normal procedure is for all inmates to be restrained with handcuffs until they are transferred into the holding cell at the courthouse.
According to Vincent, Volunteer Deputy Jailer Todd Vincent, who was handling the inmates by himself, had removed the handcuffs from the inmates so they could be transferred to the cell and he heard a door shut. As the deputy jailer looked up he could see that Troutman was missing from the line.
"He was able to get out an unsecured door that led to the courthouse lobby, where the metal detectors are," said Jailer Vincent. "Normally there are security officers out there, but for whatever reason, no one was out there. It appears that Troutman just ran out the back door of the courthouse, facing the sheriff's office."
When asked why Troutman was able to access an unlocked door into the courthouse lobby, Vincent said he has asked the same thing.
"We have doors in the courthouse that don't secure," he said. "Inmates shouldn't have any possible way of getting to the lobby or accessing the public, but it's the way the courthouse is set up."
He said the courthouse is not built for the current amount of inmates that must be accommodated.
'I can't take 20-plus prisoners and pile them all in a 12 x 12 room, and we have that sometimes. As you can imagine, inmates don't always get along with one another so we've had to bring them in the lobby before, and no inmate should ever have interaction with the public, that's just bad news waiting to happen."
Sheriff Shane Doyle said that his office was not notified of prisoners being transferred to the courthouse today. "Our court security officers are always in the lobby in the event that prisoners will be on site, but we must be notified by the Jailer," said Doyle. "Court security officers are always ready to assist the Jailer's Office, but no one called us this morning."
Doyle also said that all local law enforcement officers are still actively searching for Troutman. He said there was one report of someone that attempted to "jiggle the handle" at the back door to Abney Eye Care where officers flooded the area, but no luck.
"At this point, we really need the help of the public," Sheriff Doyle said. "The problem with someone on the loose is that they're not going to stay in one place. We're urging all residents to keep your eyes open and report anything suspicious or out of the ordinary."
Doyle said Troutman is a known car thief and has already attempted to steal at least one today.
"Keep your cars and doors locked," he said. "Again, we have no reason to believe this man would hurt anyone, but people do desperate things sometimes."
He also said that all schools are still on what's known as "lock-out," except Kyrock Elementary, which was cleared at 11:24am. "Lock-out" means no one can enter or exit the building but are free to move about as they wish inside. The Sheriff also said schools are going about their normal activities inside.