Emanuel County sheriff says human error led to jail escape - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Sheriff says human error led to jail escape

Sheriff Tyson Stephens Sheriff Tyson Stephens
SWAINSBORO, GA (WTOC) -

Emanuel County's sheriff isn't happy over six inmates escaping from jail over the weekend. But, he's glad that the method was immediately identified because it is easier to prevent than other possible origins.

"We had a jailer close a chase door, but not lock it," explained Sheriff Tyson Stephens. "That is regrettable, but it is easier to fix than if the building had a design flaw or if the jailer was cooperating with the inmates for some reason."

Stephens said the jailer would be disciplined, but he said that would not include termination. The sheriff said the door to a utility zone was opened during the weekend to allow a work crew into the area to fix a plumbing problem. When the crew left, the jailer closed the door but failed to lock it.

Late Saturday night, the six inmates slipped into the utility area. From there, they climbed to the roof, broke open a hatch and escaped over the barbed wire fence.

By Sunday morning, three of the six were back in custody. Deputies and U.S. Marshals continue to look for Matthew Findley, 27, Jeffrey Webb, 26, and Cecil Nelson, 33.

Anyone with information on the three is asked to call the Emanuel County Sheriff's Office at 478.237.7526 or their local authorities.

Copyright 2012 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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