There’s an urgent manhunt underway in Ohio for four inmates who are considered extremely dangerous.

The four escaped from an Ohio jail after overpowering two female guards.  Authorities said they did it using a homemade weapon.  One of them escaped last month as well.


 
It happened around 12:14 a.m. Sunday, and Sheriff Matt Champlin said they had help from the outside.  The jail they escaped from was the Gallia County Jail.

“The four inmates were successful in forcing open a secured door and escaped,” he said.

The escapees were identified as Brynn Martin, 40; Christopher Clemente, 24; Troy McDaniel Jr., 30; and Lawrence Lee III, 29.

“Deputies have established that the inmates had assistance in escaping from at least one individual on the outside,” Champlin.

Police said it’s urgent that they be found as quickly as possible.

“All of the inmates should be considered extremely dangerous,” he said.

Here’s what we know about the inmates, from police:

  • Brynn K. Martin, 40, who is 5’7 and weighs approximately 170 pounds. He has brown hair and blue eyes.  
  • Christopher M. Clemente, 24, who is 6’1 and weighs approximately 165 pounds. He has brown hair and hazel eyes.
  • Troy R. McDaniel Jr., 30, who is 5’11 and weighs approximately 157 pounds. He has blonde hair and blue eyes.
  • Lawrence R. Lee III, 29, who is 5’9 and weighs approximately 187 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes.

Police are asking for our help in circulating their pictures and said anyone who sees them or knows where they are should call 911.

At 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sheriff Matt Champlin is expected to hold a press conference regarding the escapees and other issues that have been plaguing the Gallia County Jail at the Gallia County Court House.

In just the past couple of months, there have been multiple inmate escapes.

Other Gallia County Jail Inmate Escapes

There have been multiple inmate escapes in just the last couple months.  Martin – one of the current escapees, got away from a transport vehicle with another inmate on Sept. 3 and was captured the next day in Cheshire.

Then Richard Clements escaped from the jail Aug. 11. and was caught again the next day in Circleville.

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In August, a massive manhunt was launched for an escaped Tennessee inmate who was later caught with help from a family’s home security system.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation reported that Curtis Watson was caught after he was spotted on a home surveillance system in Henning, Tennessee.

The Tennessee Department of Correction tweeted earlier in the day he was caught two pics of Watson from a home’s Ring camera surveillance system.  The images were picked up at 3:30 in the morning.

In the pictures that the Tennessee Department of Correction shared, you could see that Watson had changed his clothing and now appears to be wearing camo bib overalls and a hat while carrying a camp backpack.

The night before, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation narrowed it’s focus after receiving a credible tip.

“I feel confident saying they’re on the right track,” Lauderdale County District Attorney Mark Davidson said.

There were reports that police were searching a small area with helicopters, but Davidson said he was not on the scene and couldn’t confirm those reports.

Also on that night, law enforcement officials were searching a wooded area off Highway 371 not far from the West Tennessee State Penitentiary.

Curtis Ray Watson is currently serving a 15-year prison sentence at West Tennessee State Penitentiary for aggravated kidnapping. Police said at the time that Watson knocked a woman over the head with an object and raped her multiple times.

Corrections officials say that they discovered that Watson was missing several days before after officials discovered the dead body of Debra Johnson, a top official in the Tennessee Department of Corrections. 

Debra Johnson, 64, was found dead inside her residence. (Tennessee Department of Corrections)

 

Upon finding Johnson deceased inside her residence on the prison campus with clues that indicated she was the victim of foul play, the staff immediately put the facility on lockdown and conducted a check of inmates, eventually noticing that Watson was gone.

A tractor that was supposedly used in the escape was found approximately a mile away from the facility. Officials said that Watson worked on farm detail, and likely used that as a means for his escape.

The Tennessee Department of Corrections confirmed that Johnson was the correctional administrator for TDOC facilities in West Tennessee.

“Today we lost a very beloved and respected member of our TDOC family,” the Tennessee Department of Corrections wrote in a statement. “We are extremely saddened by this tragic loss and committed to working with our law enforcement in bringing the person responsible to justice.”

Johnson reportedly oversaw the wardens of regional prisons and reported to the assistant commissioner of the agency.

“She led a distinguished career over 38 years of service to the people of this great state,” TDOC commissioner Tony Parker said Wednesday. 

Officials say they will work tirelessly to bring Watson to justice.

“Rest assured that we will find this offender and bring justice to the family of Debra Johnson,” Commissioner Parker said. “Debra is known as a very dedicated, professional correctional employee respected both by the offender population and the people who work for our department.”

A blue alert has been issued by state officials, which is signaled when a member of law enforcement is killed or has sustained life-threatening injuries. This is only the third time the state has used the alert since its inception in 2011.

Reports described Watson, 44, as 5-feet-11 and 140 pounds. A photo on a wanted poster shows him with a bald head and mostly white beard that extends down his chin.

“This is a serious situation and we ask the public to stay vigilant, to stay aware,” TBI Director David Rausch said. “We need to get this dangerous individual into custody.”

 

Watson was previously was incarcerated for aggravated child abuse and was released in 2011, but returned to prison in 2013. Officials say that in his recent stint, he had very few disciplinary issues while inside. 

curtis_ray_watson

Curtis Ray Watson is wanted for escaping prison and allegedly murdering a prison official to do it. (Tennessee Department of Corrections)

The day after the murder, TBI officials announced they secured warrants against Watson on first-degree murder, aggravated battery and aggravated sexual battery charges in relation to Johnson’s death.

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