6 of 11 youths who escaped Texas facility remain free Teen-ager phones family to announce he will be home by Christmas

December 12, 1998|By HOUSTON CHRONICLE

BRYAN, Texas -- Just two weeks after a murderer escaped Texas' death row, 11 teen-age offenders, including three violent youths, escaped from the state's largest youth correctional facility, authorities said yesterday.

By yesterday afternoon, five had been arrested.

VTC The inmates, ranging in age from 14 to 17, obtained a key to the fire door in their dormitory at the J. W. Hamilton Jr. State School and escaped about 7: 30 p.m. Thursday. They then used wirecutters to cut through a fence about 15 yards away, said Judy Briscoe, director of juvenile corrections for the Texas Youth Commission.

Three of the youths had been incarcerated for assault and firearms offenses; the other eight are nonviolent offenders, Briscoe said.

Bryan is about 90 miles northwest of Houston.

Bryan police arrested five of the youths who had been hiding in a trailer near the school, said Pamela Ward, a youth commission spokeswoman. All will face additional charges for escape, which could add nine months to a year to their sentences.

Donald R. Flint, a 17-year-old from Houston, telephoned his parents to say he would be home for Christmas, authorities said, but as of late yesterday, he had not been sighted. Flint was serving time for robbery.

Tim Bain, a 17-year-old from San Antonio who was charged with theft, reached his parents' home yesterday, along with a few other fugitives. The group fled again when Bain's parents called police.

They apparently stole a staff member's car, which was later recovered on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, about 10 miles away. Authorities believe the youths then stole another vehicle from the campus.

Authorities normally do not reveal the identities of juvenile offenders but are allowed to release their names and descriptions if they escape.

The 11 youths made their break Thursday evening as a fight broke out between two other boys in a dormitory activity room, said a school official.

Pub Date: 12/12/98

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