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Tangipahoa deputies didn't know about four escaped inmates until family member of an escapee tipped-off jail staff

3 weeks 3 days 54 minutes ago Monday, May 27 2024 May 27, 2024 May 27, 2024 11:09 AM May 27, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

AMITE — Four inmates escaped from the Tangipahoa Parish Jail over the weekend and Tangipahoa Parish deputies were not aware they were gone until a family member of one of the inmates that escaped Saturday called the jail Sunday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said Monday.

Two of the inmates have been taken back into custody, but the search continues for the other two still on the run.

Sunday evening, deputies with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office said that 19-year-old Omarion Hookfin of Hammond, 19-year-old Avery Guidry of Natalbany, 20-year-old Jamarcus Cyprian of Amite and 21-year-old Travon Johnson of Natalbany escaped the fence during recreation time.

Around 3:35 p.m. on Sunday, the warden was tipped off the two inmates that had escaped Saturday, Travon Johnson and Avery Guidry, went to a relative's house in the middle of the night looking for a place to stay, Travis said. An investigation into how the escapes happened then started.

"It goes back to the supervision of inmates," Travis said. "There were several issues that facilitated this escape."

Chief Jimmy Travis said that the suspects escaped the facility at two separate times over the weekend, with one pair escaping Saturday and the other leaving on Sunday.

"Apparently they made their way (out), they hid and after dark, they went up under a wall and they were able to scale two fences and get away," Travis said about the Saturday escape. "We had the same thing happen (Sunday) before we were able to get to the jail and pinpoint their avenue of escape and get everything shut down."

They broke through the corroded piece of fence and crawled under an eight-inch gap in the wall before scaling the razer-wire fences, Travis said.

By Monday morning, deputies announced that Johnson and Guidry had been taken back into custody after they were notified by a concerned citizen that two people matching the escapees descriptions were spotted in the area. The two of them were hiding in a dumpster behind the Dollar General store on Pumpkin Center Road in Hammond. They were captured about 22 miles southwest of the jail outside of Hammond.

Cyprian and Hookfin are still at large.

Travis said that a lack of correctional supervision and proper headcounts was one of the ways this could have occurred. Another was a weakened chain link fence on the yard. Travis said new razer-wire is necessary to fix this issue. He also blamed short staffing and poor training for the escapes.

"Ultimately the responsibility falls on the Sheriff's Office," he said. "It's a failure. We had a failure within. We hope to correct, and learn from our mistakes and move forward."

Johnson, Guidry and Hookfin were in jail for murder charges relative to a brutal Hammond home invasion and homicide in 2022. Cyprian was serving time for armed robbery. 

Anyone with information about the inmates can call 911 or visit www.tangicrimestoppers.com

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