Prisoner tunnels through drywall before rappelling down medical facility to escape

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office to address prisoner escapes
Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 9:08 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX/Gray News) – Authorities in Ohio are searching for one of two inmates who escaped from a medical center Sunday night using bedsheets to climb out a third-story window.

Hamilton County Sheriff Charmaine McGuffey said James Johnson, 44, and Patrick Thomas, 32, escaped custody Sunday, WXIX reported.

Johnson was taken back into custody around 12 p.m. Monday, but Thomas remains on the run, the sheriff explained.

According to the sheriff’s office, the escape started in “Shawshank Redemption” style as Thomas tunneled his way through the drywall of the facility.

Using a locker and a bed, he managed to conceal the hole in the wall, McGuffey said.

Thomas then got into a counselor’s room on the third floor.

From there, the sheriff showed video which she says shows Thomas using a chair to break the window he rappeled out of using bedsheets.

Video from outside the medical facility showed Thomas falling onto the Reading Road sidewalk as he climbed down.

He then ran down the street, but likely injured himself when he fell, Sheriff McGuffey added.

Thomas was being held at Talbert House on a warrant from Kenton County, Kentucky. Based on his prior history, the sheriff’s office says Thomas is considered dangerous.

Thomas is described as 5′6″ and 160 lbs. with the letter “P” tattooed on his forehead.

Thomas and Johnson are the most recent prisoners to escape from the custody of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office. According to WXIX, four people have managed to escape custody in the last three weeks.

“We’ve had a lot of officers retiring that are tenured. That makes for a different level of surveillance,” McGuffey explained. “We’re training those officers and getting them retrained. I do support the officers. I don’t think anybody violated policy and procedure here. I do think it is a matter of tenure and maturity as an officer in uniform.”

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