A minimum-custody inmate in New Hanover County is believed to have scaled a fence and fled the prison Wednesday morning, making him the fifth state inmate to escape this year.
Police and state officials are searching for Stephen Singleton, 34, who is serving time for habitual misdemeanor assault and larceny. He was scheduled to be released in early 2018.
Singleton was last seen in his bed at New Hanover Correctional Center in Wilmington at 4 a.m., said Keith Acree, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Public Safety. He was missing at 5 a.m.
Acree said prison officials are working with local police and the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Forces to find Singleton. They’ll also conduct an internal review to see if prison policy was followed.
Twelve other inmates have escaped from state custody since 2015, Acree said.
North Carolina prisons house roughly 37,400 inmates.
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