Escapees from BR last seen Tuesday night on road
Advocate staff report
July 06, 2012
Jetson Center for Youth officials are continuing their search Thursday for two teenagers who escaped from the Baker facility two days ago, authorities said.
Jerel Giarrusso, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice, said East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s deputies and Baton Rouge police are helping with the search, which will continue until the teens are found.
The Sheriff’s Office identified the escapees as Demonte Washington, 15, and Clarence McWilliams, 18, spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said in a news release. Both teens are from Baton Rouge, she said.
Washington’s name, which would generally be withheld by law enforcement because he is a juvenile, was released Wednesday because authorities consider him a threat to the community, Hicks said.
Washington was sent to Jetson for simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling while McWilliams was sent there for simple burglary and carjacking, Giarrusso said. Washington and McWilliams were last seen on the campus by Jetson officials at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, Giarrusso said.
They were later spotted on Glynn Road near Old Rafe Mayer Road at 10:27 p.m. Tuesday, she said.
What transpired between those two times is unclear, Giarrusso said.
Jetson, one of three juvenile secure care facilities operated by OJJ, has notified residents near the Baker facility that the teens escaped, Giarrusso said.
Louisiana State Police, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office and city police from Baton Rouge, Baker and Zachary are helping with the search, Giarrusso said.
A chase team with tracking dogs from the state’s Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson has also been deployed, Giarrusso said.
“We will undertake a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding this incident,” OJJ Deputy Secretary Mary Livers said in a statement Wednesday.
McWilliams is described as black, 6 feet tall, weighing about 180 pounds, Hicks said in a news release. He was last seen wearing a burgundy shirt and tan pants.
Washington is described as black, 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing about 140 pounds, Hicks said.
The last time there was an escape from Jetson was seven months ago when three teens slipped out after employees failed to supervise them for eight hours between 11 p.m. Dec. 27 and 7 a.m. Dec. 28, Livers has said.
The oversight allowed Collin Aymond, 19, a convicted thief; Hank Clark, 16, a convicted burglar; and Chantz Nix, 16, a convicted rapist, to escape from their locked dormitory, Livers has said. The teens were found about 8 miles from Jetson’s campus and placed back in the facility, which is on Old Scenic Highway near Baker.
One OJJ employee was fired and three others were put on administrative leave following the escape.
Livers said after the incident that her office was considering implementing an automated call system to alert residents near Jetson of any emergencies that could affect their safety. The system was implemented shortly after Tuesday’s escape.
Before the December incident, Jetson’s last escape was Nov. 12, 2007, Giarrusso has said.
In the past several years, Jetson has changed from operating the facility by using a correctional approach to using a therapeutic approach. The average daily population at the facility has been reduced from more than 200 teenage boys to about 75 to 77.
The boys range in age from 13 to 20, Giarrusso has said. The state must release juvenile offenders by their 21st birthday.
In lieu of uniformed guards sitting and watching youth, juvenile justice specialists now provide treatment to the inmates.