Last of 12 escaped Alabama jail inmates recaptured in Florida

By Steve Gorman

(Reuters) – The last of 12 inmates who escaped from an Alabama jail over the weekend with the aid of peanut butter was recaptured hundreds of miles away in South Florida on Tuesday by police and FBI agents, according to the sheriff of Martin County, Florida.

The lone remaining fugitive, Brady Kilpatrick, 24, was taken into custody after two days on the run when police raided the house where he was hiding out near the coastal town of Tequesta, Florida, a suburb of West Palm Beach, the sheriff said.

Three other people accused of aiding and abetting his escape also were arrested at the house, including his sister and her fiance, who authorities said picked Kilpatrick up by car in Alabama and drove him more than 700 miles (1,126 km) south into Florida.

A team of officers from the Martin County and Palm Beach County sheriff’s departments, joined by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, zeroed in on Kilpatrick’s hideout on the basis of an anonymous tip, Sheriff William Snyder told reporters.

Snyder said Kilpatrick later told investigators he believed he was facing 20 years in prison on charges of methamphetamine possession and other offenses when he and 11 other inmates at the Walker County Jail in Jasper, Alabama, slipped away from the lockup on Sunday.

According to authorities in Alabama, the 12 escapees used peanut butter to disguise the numbers on a cell door and then fooled a guard into opening an exit door, allowing the prisoners to flee the facility.

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Eleven of the inmates, some who had been jailed on such charges as robbery, attempted murder and domestic violence, were apprehended within 12 hours, all in the vicinity of the jail. But Kilpatrick, who told authorities he ran nonstop for the first two hours on the loose, managed to elude the manhunt until Tuesday evening, after making it to Florida.

“His mistake was coming to Martin County,” the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook message announcing his capture.

Synder said he expected Kilpatrick would soon be returned to Alabama, and expressed confidence that sheriff’s deputies in Martin County could keep him securely locked up until then.

“I can tell you this, he’s not getting peanut butter,” the sheriff said with a wry smile.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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