Archive for Thursday, July 19, 2007

LCF escape is brief

July 19, 2007

A Lansing Correctional Facility inmate is back in custody after a brief escape Wednesday.

Prison officials said Mark A. Henderson, 50, escaped from the facility's Vehicle Maintenance Department, where he was assigned to work. He was captured by the Platte County, Mo., Sheriff's Department less than an hour after his escape was discovered.

Henderson drove a state-owned 2001 Crown Victoria from the prison's Vehicle Maintenance Department, which is housed south and east of the main prison complex.

A news release from the prison said the escape was confirmed at 11:08 a.m. By 11:30 a.m., he was captured near Weston, Mo., by Platte County authorities.

The Platte County Sheriff's Department said Deputy William Slentz had heard a radio broadcast about the escape that included a vehicle description and recalled having just seen the vehicle just before 11:30 a.m. Slentz, with the assistance of Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpl. Steve Salfrank, stopped the Crown Victoria was stopped on Missouri Highway 45 near Weston, which is about 15 miles from Lansing.

Henderson was arrested without incident and the Crown Victoria was released to Lansing officials.

Brett Peterson, a spokesman for the prison, said the response to the prison break was textbook. "Things happened rather quickly. We have procedures in place, and everything happened the way it's supposed to happen," he said.

It was the first escape at LCF since February 2006, when convicted murderer John Manard hid in a dog crate and was shuttled out of the prison in a van driven by a volunteer. The two were on the run for nearly two weeks before being captured in Tennessee.

Henderson is serving 10 to 40 years for voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery convictions in 1978 and 1981 in Wyandotte County. He had been released from prison on parole in September 2000 but was returned as a parole violator in August of 2002.

Peterson said Henderson had earned the right to work in the facility's Vehicle Maintenance Department, or prison garage, through past good behavior in prison.

"He was in minimum-security custody and has not had a disciplinary problem since 2004," Peterson said.

Peterson said about 10 inmates and one prison official - a supervisor - were working at the garage when the escape occurred.

"I don't know specifically how the escape took place, but I believe the supervisor was on his toes and realized pretty quickly an inmate and a vehicle were missing," Peterson said.

Henderson, who would have been eligible for parole in May 2008, is being held in the Platte County Detention Facility without bond on a 24-hour hold on a fugitive from justice charge.

The Platte County Sheriff's Department said details regarding Henderson's return to Kansas were being coordinated.

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