A manhunt is underway for four prisoners who escaped an Ohio jail after using a homemade weapon to overpower two female correctional officers, authorities said.
The four men were able to force open a secured door and escape at about 12:14 a.m. Sunday, the Gallia County sheriff said. The inmates, who should be considered "extremely dangerous," were helped in their escape by at least one person on the outside, the sheriff's office said.
One of the inmates, Brynn K. Martin, has escaped from the jail before, Sheriff Matt Champlin told reporters.
The inmates gained access to the administrative wing of the jail and stole the keys to a car belonging to one of the corrections officers, Champlin said. Gallia County is about 140 miles east of Cincinnati.
They drove the car about one block away, where another car was waiting for them, according to Champlin. Authorities believe one or more of the escaped inmates may be driving a gray 2019 Dodge Charger with Ohio plates HVP8419 registered to one of the inmates identified as Christopher Clemente.
US Marshals are offering up to $2,500 per inmate for any information leading to their apprehension, Champlin said.
The two corrections officers were not seriously injured during the escape, according to the sheriff.
The jail has experienced other escapes recently from the facility and transport vehicles, the sheriff said, adding the facility isn't equipped to deal with the volume and type of inmates it houses. Improvements are needed, Champlin said.
The jail was built more than 50 years ago, and the cells no longer lock because they were permanently opened in the 1980s or 1990s to make more space to house inmates, according to the sheriff.
The jail has 22 beds and employs nine full-time corrections officers, four females and five males, Champlin said.
No male corrections officers were working Saturday night. Two men who were scheduled to work called out sick, and three other male officers are out because they were injured at the jail recently, though not seriously, Champlin said, without elaborating.
Martin is 40, 5-foot-7 and about 170 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes. He was being held on charges of felony breaking and entering, felony receiving stolen property, two counts of failure to appear and escaping jail.
Clemente is 24, 6-foot-1 and about 165 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes. He was being held on charges of indictment for two felony counts of complicity to trafficking in drugs.
The other inmates have been identified as:
- Troy R. McDaniel Jr., 30, 5-foot-11 and about 157 pounds. He has blond hair and blue eyes. He was being held on charges of failing to appear in Gallia County Juvenile Court for non-support of dependents.
- Lawrence R. Lee III, 29, 5-foot-9 and about 187 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. He was being held on charges of felony identity fraud, misdemeanor obstructing official business and misdemeanor assault.