We don’t know what’s worse: the fact that a teenager wanted for murder escaped and was on the run for two days, or that his family used their time in the media to trash the police who were searching for him.
Earlier this week LET brought you reports of a 13-year-old teenager from North Carolina identified as “Jericho W.” He is facing two first-degree murder charges and managed to escape from the custody of authorities after a juvenile court appearance on Tuesday November 7.
The teen escaped from the custody of Department of Social Services NC Department of Public Safety Transport Team. He was being held in a DSS facility in Fayetteville, NC, where he was waiting to be seen at a juvenile hearing for his charges. Sources say that, “Jericho” was being held inside the facility with other juveniles, wearing leg restraints and no shoes. After a facility worker opened the door to the room, the teen reportedly took off running.
The daring escape led to a massive manhunt for the teen that involved multiple agencies including the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, U.S. Marshal Services, Robeson County Sheriff’s Office, Lumberton Police Department, Lumberton Rescue Dive Team and Deep Branch Fire Department Dive Team. In an unprecedented move by authorities, which is rarely done in cases with juveniles, his photo was released to news outlets in hopes that he would be located quickly.
A little over 24 hours after his escape, the teen was turned in by family members who handed him over to federal marshals, and is now back in custody in a different “secure facility”. The teen’s mother, Nikki Jacobs, spoke with reporters after turning her son over to authorities.
She stated that her son “went to his grandmother’s old home which is now abandoned, spent Tuesday night and all-day Wednesday there before finding a bicycle and riding it to his uncle’s home.”
The teen’s uncle, Wayne Lambert, also speaking with reporters explained that his nephew, “followed the railroad tracks after he escaped before showing up at [my] house on Wednesday and asking for food and a shower.”
At some point after the teen’s escape from custody, he was able to remove one or both sides of his leg restraints, although reports are still unclear as to how he was able to do so.
Lambert went on to tell reporters, “”I just thank God that he came home to me and I was the one that could put my hands on him before the officials did or anybody else would hurt this child, because he’s not a very bad kid.”
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Although Jericho, and another man 19-year-old Derrick Deshawn Hunt are being held on charges of murdering two men, Frank Thomas, 34, and Adam Thomas, 33, Jericho’s uncle explained, “He’s a respectful child.”
Lambert than told reporters what he told the teenager, who as it appears refers to his uncle as ‘Daddy’, when he arrived at his home, “When I seen him, I said, ‘Baby, you know what we got to do.’ He said, ‘Daddy, I don’t want to go back.’ I said, ‘I know you don’t, baby, and daddy doesn’t want to take you back, but you’re going to have to go.’ I said, ‘Do you understand me?’ He said, ‘yes, sir.’”
Lambert apparently let his nephew shower, sleep and then fed him before turning him over, with the teen’s mother, to the authorities.
Sheriff Burnis Wilkins of the Robeson County Sheriff’s Office stated that he was “grateful for the outcome of this search and thanks everyone for their assistance during the investigation.”
Although some questions still remain at this time, how did Jericho so easily escape from the adults that were tasked with keeping him in custody? How did he so easily elude capture for a full day and a half? And finally, another important question, how did a teenager become part of a situation that has led to two first degree murder charges?
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