Local News

Authorities Continue Search for Teen Escapee

Posted March 6, 2008 9:30 a.m. EST
Updated March 6, 2008 10:54 p.m. EST

WRAL News

— Chatham County authorities were searching Thursday for a teenager who escaped after being handcuffed during an arrest Thursday morning.

Moncure School, which has students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, was on lockdown as a precaution Thursday morning, but it was lifted later in the day, school officials said. An officer was stationed at the school.

A deputy was taking the suspect, Kabem Smith, into custody when Smith, who was already handcuffed, turned and ran, the sheriff's office said.  Deputies said they don't think Smith is dangerous.

Smith was described as a black male, 16, wearing jeans, a T-shirt and handcuffs.

A search focused near Old U.S. Highway 1 and U.S. 1. A command center was set up at Jordan Lake Minute Market, and K-9 units helped with the search.

This is the second lapse in security in Chatham County in the past month. Last month, five men escaped from the Chatham County Detention Center after overpowering detention officers.

The men grabbed the officer's keys and radio, changed clothes, left through a side door and used a coat to scale a fence topped with razor wire, authorities said.

Four of the men were recaptured within hours. Stewart Wendell Baldwin, 30, of 130 Mann's Chapel Road in Pittsboro, remains at large.

The Chatham County Sheriff's Office conducted an internal review of the incident and determined that procedures in place to prevent such escapes weren't followed. The senior detention officer on duty the night of the jailbreak was fired.