Inmate cuts way out of Patuxent

August 18, 1994|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,Sun Staff Writer

An inmate escaped from the maximum security Patuxent Institution in Jessup yesterday, cutting steel bars on a cell window, cutting a hole in a wire security fence and scaling another razor wire fence, corrections officials said.

It was Kevin Siler's second escape from a Maryland prison in five years.

Siler, 31, who is serving 29 years for armed robbery and other offenses, was missing during a noon count of inmates, said Maxine Eldridge, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. She said the prison sounded an air alarm shortly after discovering the escape to alert nearby residents.

Prison officials declined to say when Siler was last confirmed to have been at the jail or when they believe he may have escaped.

State police said they had launched a search with a bloodhound team and dispatched investigators to help prison officials in the hunt for the fugitive.

Michael McKelvin, a state police spokesman, said state police were not notified of the escape until 1:28 p.m.

Melanie Gutjahr, a Jessup resident and a member of the Citizens' Advisory Board for Correctional Institutions, an eight-member watchdog group, said, "I'm pretty upset about the escape. But I feel a little better than I might since [prison officials] called me to tell me about it."

Ms. Gutjahr said she was assured by Patuxent officials that there would be a vigorous internal investigation to determine if any procedures were violated.

She said she was notified by prison administrators who told her they had not sounded an air alarm to alert the community. She said she and other board members were phoning residents to warn them to secure their homes.

Patuxent, which houses about 1,000 inmates, is on the southeast corner of Route 175 and U.S. 1 near the Howard County line across from the Maryland Wholesale Food market. The area is heavily traveled, particularly by tractor-trailer and other delivery trucks. The prison is about a mile from Interstate 95.

Ms. Eldridge declined to say what Siler used to cut through the cell window bars and the security fencing.

Kevin Siler Siler, who has convictions for two burglaries and the armed robbery of a Woodlawn supermarket, is described as black, 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighing 180 pounds, and with a medium complexion and a scar on his head.

In May 1989, he escaped from the Maryland House of Correction, about a half-mile from the Patuxent Institution, with inmate Thomas B. Timpson. In broad daylight the two cut 2 1/2 -foot holes in prison security fences, walked past guards and then sprinted across a field and a railroad track to a getaway car driven by a woman. Prison guards fired shots as the two men fled. The fugitives were arrested by Baltimore police several days later at a Baltimore motel.

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