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Search Continues For Three Durham Youth Home Escapees

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DURHAM, N.C. — Police are searching for three juveniles whoescaped from the Durham County Youth Home, including a 15-year-oldgang member facing up to 94 years in adult court, officials said.

One of the trio is Antoine Johnson, whose case was transferred toSuperior Court Oct. 16. He allegedly entered a home in August andterrorized six occupants for an hour, raping one of them.

"Obviously, with kids like this, we're worried about what canhappen to them or someone else," said Donnie Phillips, the chiefjuvenile court counselor. "We're worried about Johnson, who hasall these things pending in adult court, and he may feel he hasnothing to lose."

Johnson is facing numerous charges, including rape, twofirst-degree sex offenses, three counts of armed robbery, burglary,several counts of kidnapping, six counts of assault by pointing agun and possession of a gun by a minor. He was identified during acourt hearing as a member of the Crips gang.

The other escapees also have pending court hearings.

"All the kids have had some weapons offenses," Phillips said."I would certainly suggest someone approach them with caution."

Two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old escaped from the Durham County Youth Home early Monday morning.

"During shower procedures, one employee was overpowered by one resident with a sharp object," said Angela G. Nunn, youth home director.

Nunn said the resident then took the employee's keys and let two other residents out the youth home at 2432 Broad Street around 5:45 a.m.

Late Monday afternoon, officials say there was a break-in at the home of one of the escapees. Police said they found three pairs of state-issued pants and two shirts.

After the escape, the youth home was placed on lockdown. Officials said the detention councilors are being questioned about the incident.

"Anytime you have an unforunate situation, you have to re-review and make adjustments. These protocols should have worked and we are now trying to figure out exactly what happened," said Durham County spokeswoman Deborah Craig-Ray.

An escape also took place at the facility three years ago; the teens who escaped were found within hours. After that escape, officials implemented new security measures.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911.

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