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Police: Michigan escaped prisoner captured

Hunt For Escaped Murderer Ends In Foot Chase And Capture

IONIA, IONIA, Mich. (AP) - 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.

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.

"We had dog teams. We had a helicopter from the state police," said Michigan Corrections Department Director Dan Heyns. "The response was good, but he'd left the area by the time we were mobilized totally 100 percent. It didn't take him long to get down to Indiana. ... His flight path now has expanded dramatically."

Nothing in Elliot's record suggested he might escape, said Heyns, who added, "This is entirely a one-man operation."

The woman who was abducted was able to call 911 from a concealed cellphone while Elliott was pumping gas at the store 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.

Elliot was discovered missing from the prison about 9:30 p.m. Sunday, probably 2 ½ hours after he escaped by using his hands to create a hole in two fences, Marlan said.

"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.

He said it wasn't immediately known if electronic security measures at the fence were not working or if Elliot somehow avoided them.

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, according to court records. Elliot and his accomplices were trying to steal money from a drug dealer, police said.

He was arrested a few days later and had a gun that tied him to the slayings. One of Elliot's co-defendants testified against him, saying he laughed about shooting the victims in the head.

Elliot was convicted of first-degree murder in 1994.

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WINNER!!!!!! February 07 2014 at 6:54 AM

..day 5 of this headline..somebody do something!!!

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WINNER!!!!!! February 06 2014 at 10:14 AM

so how long are you going to make this headlines?

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mbaughn1 February 04 2014 at 4:55 PM

His first conviction back in 1993 was for killing drug dealers...he shouldn't even be in prison for that.

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calattheranch February 04 2014 at 3:27 PM

All the money they spend keeping a person on death row, they might just as well give them the death penalty and give the money they save to the poor.

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IGM Henry Garcia February 04 2014 at 2:02 PM

Solitary confinement for a Looooooonnnnnngggg tiiiiimmmmmme!! LONG!

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Henry February 04 2014 at 1:39 PM

These situations are set up by; 1. Democrats (liberals) who have succeeded in tossing out the death penalty for these horribly depraved criminals who rape, assault and murder without fear of anything other than maybe life in prison. 2. Republicans who run state governments like Michigan and cut budgets for prisons, law enforcement, schools, road maintenance; Etc., in order to funnel tax dollars to the rich and to business executives in order to "create jobs". So far the republican strategy is only succeeding in fattening the fat cat and starving the public safety arena. Don't look for things to improve until these guys are removed from office.

This prison was so understaffed that Eliot was able to spend hours breaking through a fence that was supposed to be electrified but wasn't (Electric bill unpaid?) in plain view of a guard tower with no guard in it and a patrol car that used to constantly circle the prison sat idle. It's a wonder all the prisoners don't escape. If Michigan keeps electing republicans with this philosophy things will only get worse. Vote for someone else; Just don't vote republican.

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2 replies to Henry's comment
badellis February 04 2014 at 1:55 PM

you are right henry..we should kill every one of these convics...like the dems kill all the babies abortion......kill kill kill...I like the way you think.

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Malia February 04 2014 at 7:16 PM

Vote for someone else; Just don't vote republican.

Or a Democrat.

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royflora February 04 2014 at 1:29 PM

It makes me mad that we will spend 3 times more money per year to keep a scum bag like this in prison than we are willing to pay a teacher who teaches 20 to 30 children per class to give children a good education so they do not need to be criminals when they are older. Our priorities are wrong.

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mgocean95 February 04 2014 at 1:12 PM

Outsmarted the prison officials in escaping. Doesn't say much for correctional officers

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fishinfinn February 04 2014 at 1:10 PM

I bet the guards were watching the Super Bowl.

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1 reply to fishinfinn's comment
Choicana February 04 2014 at 2:41 PM

Get it right. They are not guard. They are Correctional Officer.

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greenliks February 04 2014 at 1:10 PM

how much money could citizens have saved if this thug was just shot thru his thin skull with s .45 caiber pistol immediately upon the verdict? Then drop him in the ocean for fish food.
Do to them as they do to you!

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