Escapee caught after running from jail

Sheriff's officials said the man sprinted from the jail Monday afternoon as a deputy was bringing him into the inmate processing area

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - After nearly four hours of searching, Sheriff's deputies dragged a 29-year-old man out of the thick underbrush lining of Buffalo Bayou after he ran away from the Harris County jail in downtown.

Sheriff's officials said Johnathon Richmond sprinted from the jail Monday afternoon as a deputy was bringing him into the inmate processing area.

Sheriff's officials said Richmond was arrested earlier in the day during a traffic stop after a deputy discovered he was wanted on a larceny charge out of Jefferson County.

Sheriff's officials said Richmond still had his hands cuffed behind his back when he ran from the jail.

Deputies immediately noticed Richmond headed for the bayou about 50 yards away from the jail.

"There's broken branches and leaves laid over to where we're pretty positive that he's in the area," said Sgt. Cedrick Collier, during the initial search.

The Sheriff's marine unit scanned the water as Houston firefighters, Sheriff's deputies and Houston police officers walked the banks of the bayou. 

Eventually an HPD helicopter picked up a heat signature in the brush.

"A lot of poison ivy, deep brush, so it was hard," said Sgt. David Pierre. "We had to use a machete to cut through it to get to him."

As Pierre and other deputies were working their way along the banks of the bayou, Lt. Tommy Shelton spotted Richmond trying to sneak past the dragnet."I saw movement," said Shelton. "He clearly had his eyes on the officers that were flushing him."

Shelton, whose hand was bloodied from thorns cutting his skin, said Richmond did not put up a fight when he ordered him to surrender.

"Well, he couldn't put his hands up because he was hand-cuffed," said Shelton. "I think he knew that it was over."

Sheriff's officials said Richmond will also be charged with felony evading arrest.

Police said they will also be reviewing policies and procedures at the jail to determine exactly how Richmond was able to run away.

According to police, at the time he ran off, the deputy who arrested Richmond had taken him out of his patrol car and was securing his weapon before walking him into the inmate processing center. 

Officials said they are not sure yet why the door to the jail's sally port area was left open.

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