Local News

Juvenile Fugitive Back In Custody; Sister Takes Him Back To Durham Youth Home

Posted January 14, 2003

— A teenager who escaped from state justice officers was back at the Durham Youth Home Tuesday night.

According to police, the sister of the 15-year-old brought him to the home around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The youth had been on the run since Monday afternoon.

Two state transportation officials were driving the teen from a court appearance at the Durham courthouse to the youth detention center on Broad Street when he jumped out of the car and ran off.

The two officers failed to secure his leg irons. Tuesday, the state fired them after blaming them for the escape.

Officials said the juvenile somehow slipped out of the shackles, and no one bothered to chase him.

Officials with the Juvenile Justice Department are now reviewing their procedures.

"(We are looking) especially (at) the policy of pursuit of a juvenile who does run and looking at ways to increase security during transportation," said Michael Schweitzer, of the state Department of Juvenile Justice.

Monday's escape managed to raise eyebrows of some people who work near the youth home.

"It's a concern," said Kim Dean, who works near the youth home. "They've had two escapes in a couple of months."

In November, three juveniles overpowered a guard and escaped from the center. They were recaptured the next day. County Manager Mike Ruffin pointed out that the home was not at fault in Monday's escape.

"I knew the public was probably going to associate that with another county faux pas," he said.

After that incident, the county immediately beefed up security at the youth home. Commissioners even approved speeding up the process of building a new $5 million youth home.

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