UPDATE (8/7/17 10:12 a.m.):
PAULDING COUNTY, Ohio (WANE) – Multiple law enforcement agencies continue to search for an “armed and dangerous” prisoner who escaped from a transport van Friday afternoon northeast of Paulding.
Paulding County Sheriff Jason Landers said the search for 32-year-old Brandon Powell is primarily located between Antwerp – his place of residence – and the area where he got away from Deputy Robert Miller at County Road 133 and 176.
Landers said Friday that Powell was restrained in shackles and handcuffs when he scaled a row of seats and attacked Miller. Landers said the inmate put Miller in a headlock which caused the transport van to crash.
Powell then stole Miller’s gun, extra ammunition, and handcuff key.
Powell then forced Miller to handcuff himself.
“We’re going to work tirelessly, we won’t sleep, we’re going to do whatever we can to sniff this guy out,” said Landers on Friday.
On the phone Saturday evening, Landers said agents from the FBI and US Marshals office are assisting local authorities with the search. A $2,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the capture of Powell.
Sunday, Landers expressed frustration.
“I’m angry with myself,” he said. “I take accountability for my office and the actions of my office. There’s a couple of things I know could have prevented this issue from happening that are changes that we’ll put in place immediately administratively.”
Landers wouldn’t explain what those changes are, but made it clear this should not have happened.
“He was properly restrained, he was properly shackled, and he was properly belted,” he continued. “This individual is a unique situation. He had a plan. He had thought out what he was going to do and he had the opportunity. What I’m most upset about myself is if he didn’t have the opportunity, [we] wouldn’t be here today.”
Since they haven’t received any solid tips of a sighting and Powell hasn’t made contact with people close to him, officers are beginning to think Powell may have killed himself.
“Well I think we have to keep that as an option,” Landers said. “I mean obviously the subject was in a different state of mind. He was going through a portion of his life where he made comments that he wanted to end his life.”
Miller was not seriously hurt in the incident and Landers said the deputy was “doing well” when he saw him Saturday.
Powell is considered armed and dangerous with at least a 40-caliber handgun and 30 bullets.
On July 8, Powell was arrested in Hicksville after a rape investigation by the Antwerp Police Department. He was booked on a felony rape charge but became suicidal in jail, according to Landers. Powell was admitted to the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital in Toledo for treatment.
He was released from that treatment Friday and Deputy Miller was tasked with returning Powell to the Paulding County Jail.
The search for Powell has included a helicopter, K-9 officers, and other specialized tools.
Landers asks the public to remain vigilant and call 911 immediately if they see Powell or anything suspicious. Tips can also be sent to the sheriff using the email email@example.com.
Saturday, Landers said he’s already planning to change the way his department transports prisoners.
“We’ve been doing it this way for decades and this one got us,” Landers said by phone Saturday.
The sheriff plans to speak with county commissioners in the next few days about changes. Landers said the changes will likely cost more money, but county officials have been supportive.
ORIGINAL (8/4/17 7:20 p.m.):
PAULDING COUNTY, OH (WANE) Police are looking for an inmate who managed to overpower a deputy and take his gun while being transported to the Paulding County Jail from a mental facility in Toledo at around noon Friday.
Brandon Powell, 32, is considered very dangerous and took off from an area near the intersection of Roads 133 and 176 according to Paulding County Sheriff Jason K. Landers.
An active manhunt is underway and anyone seeing Powell should not approach him and instead should call 911 immediately. Powell was last known to be wearing light colored clothing. He has dark hair and a stubbled beard.
Paulding County residents are asked to refrain from calling 911 for anything but emergencies while the manhunt is underway. Several roads have been closed by police.