A Mecklenburg County jail inmate who escaped from his cell pod area last week made it outside the jail, a fact not mentioned by the sheriff’s office in its initial statement to the media about the escape.
The sheriff’s office acknowledged that 38-year-old Darryl Young got outside the jail only after Young mentioned it in an interview with WSOC-TV this week.
In its April 24 media statement, the sheriff’s office said only that Young gained access to a maintenance closet left unsecured and that the closet provided access to other floors, allowing Young to escape from his pod.
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When a detention officer found Young’s cell empty, the facility was locked down and an immediate roll call/head count was conducted per policy, the statement continued. At 10:28 p.m. April 23, the facility emergency plan was activated, and detention officers caught Young four minutes later, before the emergency plan could be fully implemented, according to the statement.
In an email to the Observer on Friday, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Anjanette Flowers Grube said the initial statement was issued less than 24 hours after the incident, “while we were just beginning our investigation. Because it was so early in the investigation, there was information we could not release at the time.”
She also emailed an updated statement about the incident that said Young’s “attempted escape” identified a flaw in the jail’s design with maintenance closets.
The flaw “compromised security and fostered his ability to breach the secured area,” the statement said. “Due to this breach, (the sheriff’s office) has evaluated all of the maintenance closets and taken measures to fortify access to ensure this type of incident does not happen again.”
Young told WSOC-TV that he was on Fourth Street outside the jail entrance when he saw a sheriff’s deputy and decided to run.
He made it across the street to the old courthouse, where the officer tackled him, he told the station. He was outside for only a few minutes, he said.
The updated sheriff’s office statement said: “Fortunately, our detention officers acted quickly after the inmate was discovered missing from his housing unit. One of our detention officers observed Young as he breached the secured area via an exterior door and apprehended him after a very short foot chase.”
Young was charged with escape and injury to personal property. His bonds were later unsecured and he was released from the custody of the sheriff’s office on April 27, according to the statement.
Young had been in the jail on charges including robbery with a dangerous weapon, second-degree kidnapping and breaking and entering to terrorize.
“The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate,” the statement said of the April 23 incident. “Given the sensitive nature of what has occurred, (the office) will not provide further comment.”