Local News

Escaped Chatham County Inmate Surrenders

Posted April 4, 2008 5:47 a.m. EDT
Updated April 4, 2008 8:11 a.m. EDT

— A Chatham County inmate who escaped two months ago turned himself in Friday morning.

Stewart Wendell Baldwin, 30, surrendered at a store on Hatch Road, just outside Carrboro, at 5:30 a.m.

A WRAL photographer was there as authorities handcuffed him and took him to the Orange County Jail.

Baldwin was being held for felonious drug charges and possession of a firearm by a felon when he escaped from a Pittsboro detention facility, along with four other inmates, on Feb. 4.

Four of the men were recaptured within hours.

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

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, and the senior detention officer on duty the night of the jailbreak was fired, Sheriff Richard Webster said in a statement.

"Failure to follow these procedures and policy was the ultimate reason for this incident. Other issues that were indirectly related were shortages in staff, technology upgrades and the need for an up-to-date facility," Webster said. "Correcting any of these issues would dramatically supplement the security level of the facility. I will continue to address them as budgetary issues."