Escapee captured Wednesday

Published 8:27 pm Friday, July 23, 2010

Sheriff’s deputies captured a North Georgia man who escaped from the Decatur County Correctional Institute.

Jesse Ray Thedford, 25, of Ellenwood, Ga., who was being held at DCCI on burglary charges, escaped from the prison shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to Warden Elijah McCoy.

Thedford was among a group of inmates who had been let out into the prison’s yard for recreation, Warden McCoy said.

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Apparently, Thedford immediately walked to a corner of the yard upon being let out and scaled a 12-foot high fence with razor wire. Thedford climbed over the wire and jumped down, landing on his heels and in the process fracturing his ankles, McCoy said.

The escapee was noticed missing a short time later, at which time DCCI guards and Sheriff’s deputies began searching for him in a wooded area off Airport Road, between the prison and the Commodore Decatur Industrial Park.

Search dogs from the Apalachicola Correctional Institute in Sneads, Fla., were called in to help search and were successful in locating Thedford, who was found lying down in the woods shortly before 11 a.m. McCoy said he believed Thedford was only able to crawl a short distance into the woods because of his broken ankles.

After being treated for his broken bones and other injuries, Thedford was transferred to a higher-security facility, the Calhoun State Prison in Morgan, Ga., McCoy said.