Oklahoma police continue manhunt for prison escapees
UNDATED (NBC) -- A manhunt is underway in Oklahoma after four inmates escaped through a trapdoor above the shower area of their cell. They are described as "pretty crafty," and the Caddo County sheriff warns they could be armed and dangerous.
Authorities continued their manhunt on Monday for four inmates who escaped an Oklahoma prison by crawling to freedom through a hatch above their shower area.
The Caddo County Sheriff said that Dylan Rey Three Irons, Prime Tounwin Brown, Anthony James Mendonca and Triston Tremayne Cheadle were in their shower when they climbed up through a maintenance door above the shower head into a narrow crawl space that houses the plumbing pipes in Caddo County Detention Center in Anadarko, Okla., early Sunday morning.
The four escapees then crawled about 30 feet in the narrow pipe chase and broke through a cement wall into a utility room that led outside the jail.
“We really don’t know if they’re still in the Anadarko area,” Sheriff Gene Cain said.
Witnesses reported seeing men on the street in orange prison uniforms half a block from the jail around 2:40 a.m. local time, according to Cain. No sightings have been reported since.
“Nobody’s seen them, we haven’t gotten any calls,” he said, adding that law enforcement officers were searching properties and abandoned houses in the area.
The men were serving time at the detention center for unrelated crimes. According to reports from the Caddo County Sheriff’s Office, Mendonca, 23, was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and escape after lawful arrest; Cheadle, 32, was charged with possession of CDS methamphetamine; Brown, 23, was charged with second degree burglary and Three Irons, 21, was arrested on a warrant for probation violation.
Cain warned that Caddo County residents should be careful and report any sightings to authorities.
“They’re considered to be dangerous and possibly armed,” he told TODAY on Monday.
Prison officials were said to be aware that some of hatches in the two-year-old facility were not secured and were in the process of welding them shut. All but two of the hatches had been tended to when the escape occurred.
NBC News' Kerry Sanders contributed to this report.