FRANKLIN FURNACE, Ohio (WCMH) – A jailbreak at a Franklin Furnace correctional facility saw five prisoners escape, and the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office said one of them remains at large.
The following inmates were found after running away from the prison, according to the sheriff’s office:
- Jeffrey Randle Fields, 37, of Cuyahoga Falls
- Clifford Tyler Morris, 33, of Sabina
- Aaron Brigeman, 43, of Dayton
- Walker Pence, 22, of New Holland
All of the inmates who broke out were low-level, non-violent drug offenders, according to the sheriff’s office.
Jailbreak’s first day
The sheriff’s office got a heads up Saturday from the STAR Community Justice Center that staff there had witnessed “two to three male inmates escaping” by climbing the fence at the facility. The sheriff’s office said it then sent deputies as well as the Ohio State Highway Patrol to search for the escapees.
Staff at the prison told the sheriff’s office that they saw a woman near the fence before the escape happened. When investigators found a woman who matched that description there — identified as 32-year-old Allie Angelo, of Akron, — and asked if she witnessed anything to do with the escape, she told them no. The deputies arrested her.
The sheriff’s office said it later found out that Angelo had come to the prison with her ex-husband — 31-year-old Matthew Sladen, of Akron — to help her new fiancé, Fields, escape. The deputies also called Sladen after finding out he was at the Walmart in Waverly, and told him to stay there. Waverly police then went to the Walmart and detained him until the deputies came to get him.
Before the end of the day, authorities found two of the five escaped inmates. A deputy found Fields on Junior Furnace Road — about an hour’s walk from the correctional facility — and arrested him. OSHP troopers found another inmate, Morris, on the same road and also took him into custody.
The next day
Scioto County deputies went the next morning to the Norfolk Southern property in Wheelersburg — about a three-hour walk from the STAR Community Justice Center — after getting a report of two suspicious people there.
When they got there, they found two men heading for U.S. 52. The pair ran from the deputies, and Portsmouth police came to assist by deploying a K-9. Brigeman, one of the men, had been hiding in the woods and came out to walk on railroad property. The sheriff’s office said one of its deputies found him there and detained him.
Brigeman gave up the location of the other inmate, telling the deputy to look near a mobile home off of Selby Avenue. Authorities found that fourth inmate, Pence, hiding in the woods near the home.
The last inmate to escape — Thomas Charles Comberger, 46, of Wilmington — remains at large as of Monday.
All of the escapees will face new charges for the escape through their home counties, according to the sheriff’s office. Angelo and Sladen each face a felony charge of aiding escape, and Sladen also faces an additional charge of possessing criminal tools.