Local News

Escaped federal prison inmate found in Durham County

Posted June 21, 2012

— An inmate who escaped Monday from a Butner federal prison was found Thursday evening in Durham County, authorities said.

Ernest Thomas, 60, was apprehended by U.S. Marshals on Old Oxford Road around 7 p.m. They found him sitting on the back porch of a vacant home, authorities said.

He was dehydrated, but otherwise seemed fine, authorities said.

Thomas walked away from a satellite camp at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex on Monday. The U.S. Marshals returned him Thursday evening to the prison complex, where he was being medically evaluated.

Thomas was serving a 27-year sentence for cocaine distribution.

It wasn't clear whether his sentence would be affected by the escape.


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  • bombayrunner Jun 22, 2012

    just one? after working in durham a few years -- lotta felons there.

  • Con Amor brings luv and laughter Jun 22, 2012

    ""That's a long walk from Butner.""

    Actually, it's not really far at all to the county line. I'm wondering if this fella may have dementia? Doesnt seem like he's in very much trouble. So maybe there were some pre-known issues going on with him.

  • SmokeWagon Jun 22, 2012

    He came home....how nice...!!!

  • RNmomX4 Jun 22, 2012

    Rabbitdog, I have learned that there is no rhyme or reason to what is acceptable to the moderators. As for your reference to your earlier comment, I bet I have an idea of what you mean, and you were right.

  • keeprightexcepttopass Jun 22, 2012

    He was housed at the camp, which is for prisoners nearing the end of their sentence and have had no infractions. The camp does NOT have a fence, so it's very easy to "walk away."

  • goozleboy Jun 22, 2012

    I bet he was needing medical attention after they finished with him for making them look like the boobs they obviously are for letting him "escape" in the first place. How ignorant!

  • puzzled Jun 22, 2012

    Maybe he is now confused and just walked away. How you can do this prison I don't know. I always thought prison was prison. Didn't realize that one could just walk away. Should never be able to do that in any prison. Don't care what level or what crime. Somebody should lose a job here. His time may have been about up and he didn't want to have to live on his own again! No one really know except this man. What a pitiful situation we're forced to live in.

  • NCHighlander Jun 22, 2012

    Something wrong with my earlier comment WRAL? Can't suggest that a certain city is a Mecca for criminals who just want to make the pilgrimage?

  • halfpint1552 Jun 22, 2012

    I wonder how much more he had in his sentence. If he had most of it left to go, he probably was afraid of dying in prison and tried to get out of there. If he only had a year left, he is just dumb!

  • not my real name Jun 22, 2012

    That's a long walk from Butner.