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Two more teens escape from state prison amid growing concern about state's failure

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BATON ROUGE- Two more teenagers managed to escape a secure juvenile prison days ago, as the Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ) has refused to do interviews about what has been going on.

Monday, an OJJ spokeswoman said the secretary of OJJ, Bill Sommers, would sit down with WBRZ Friday.

Last month, two juveniles escaped from the Acadiana Center for Youth in St. Martinville. Demarion Simmons and Brennan Hebert caused a massive search after breaking out of the facility. When Hebert was caught, he was rebooked into the facility with a loaded weapon that was missed by the arresting agency and the jail guards.

Days ago, two more juveniles escaped from the Acadiana Center for Youth in St. Martinville. Sheriff Becket Breaux told WBRZ Monday he's at his wit's end.

"My tolerance level has pretty much met or is pretty close to the threshold," Breaux said. "We have a meeting with juvenile justice to discuss this and come up with ways of stopping this."

Breaux said when the two teens escaped last week, an impressive manhunt began.

"We called out 20-25 personnel, using drones to locate them," Breaux said. "We did find them within ten and a half hours later at a truck stop five miles away."

Amid the increasing escapes, the WBRZ Investigative Unit requested the number of escapes from OJJ facilities over the past two years.

OJJ refused to be specific, only releasing the number of incidents, which could include one or multiple teens escaping at the same time.

In 2020, there were eight incidents.

In 2021, that number more than doubled to 19 incidents.

"As sheriff of St. Martin Parish, I'm not going to tolerate any more escapes," Breaux said.

The Office of Juvenile Justice began leasing the facility in St. Martinville eight months ago. The building is staffed by state employees.


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