Law officers hunt for last 3 prison escapees - Las Lomas locked down

Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 04:45

Five of the eight men who made a dar­ing dash for free­dom from the Gold­en Grove Re­mand Yard in Arou­ca were re­cap­tured by a joint team of army, po­lice and prison of­fi­cers short­ly be­fore 7 pm yes­ter­day.

The men, ac­cord­ing to the Trinidad and To­ba­go Po­lice Ser­vice, were all held in the Las Lo­mas area fol­low­ing in­for­ma­tion the au­thor­i­ties had re­ceived.

The cap­tured men were iden­ti­fied as Brent John­son, Mikhale Mo­hammed, Ker­ry Valenti­no, Joshua Janet and Stef­fon Austin. All were ac­cused of mur­der.

The men had squeezed through a 12-inch hole af­ter re­mov­ing a brick from cell six, which is lo­cat­ed at the up­per south wing of Re­mand Yard and al­leged­ly used a hack­saw to cut through two of sev­er­al steel bars used to se­cure the ven­ti­la­tion open­ing. It is be­lieved they did this some­time be­tween Tues­day night and ear­ly yes­ter­day morn­ing.

Prison Com­mis­sion­er Ger­ard Wil­son con­firmed to Guardian Me­dia how the men were able to make their es­cape and said a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion had al­ready been ini­ti­at­ed to not on­ly find out how they es­caped but how they came in­to pos­ses­sion of the hack­saw.

The search for the men in­volved a joint team of heav­i­ly armed po­lice, prison of­fi­cers and sol­diers who spent most of the day comb­ing sev­er­al ar­eas of Bon Air and Arou­ca in search of the men.

Dur­ing the search, a he­li­copter at­tached to the Na­tion­al He­li­copter Ser­vices Lim­it­ed that was pro­vid­ing aer­i­al as­sis­tance crashed close to 1.10 pm in a clear­ing in the Windy Hill, Arou­ca area, just a quar­ter mile off the Ari­ma Old Road. The pi­lot and two pas­sen­gers, a po­lice of­fi­cer and prison of­fi­cer, es­caped un­hurt. (See Page A5).

Last night, Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent of the North­ern Di­vi­sion Mc Don­ald Ja­cob com­mend­ed his of­fi­cers and oth­er arms of law en­force­ment for their role in the cap­ture of the five es­capees.

“We are us­ing all the tech­nol­o­gy be­fore us to as­sist us with the sup­port of our he­li­copter and drones in or­der to lo­cate the oth­er three per­sons,” Mc­Don­ald told the me­dia.

The three men who re­main at large are mur­der ac­cused Olatun­gi Den­bow and Michael Find­ley, along with At­i­ba Sealey, was in­car­cer­at­ed on charges of ag­gra­vat­ed rob­bery.

Act­ing Su­per­in­ten­dent Bran­don John of the North­ern Di­vi­sion, who has been co-or­di­nat­ing the op­er­a­tional side of the search, said the pic­tures of the three men who are still at large had been cir­cu­lat­ed is­land­wide.

“We have in­for­ma­tion that the men are still in this area (Las Lo­mas) and all eight of them were to­geth­er in a house. The of­fi­cers re­ceived the in­for­ma­tion and went to the lo­ca­tion and ar­rest­ed five and locked down the area. We are go­ing to con­tin­ue in­to the night un­til we have them in cus­tody,” he said.

Fol­low­ing his es­cape, Den­bow post­ed a mes­sage on so­cial me­dia claim­ing he was set up by a state wit­ness in two mur­der cas­es and would on­ly sur­ren­der if Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith and the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions in­ves­ti­gat­ed his claims.

Up to press time, law en­force­ment of­fi­cials were still in the Las Lo­mas area search­ing for the three es­capees, who were con­sid­ered armed and dan­ger­ous.

- Mark Bassant. Photo by Abraham Diaz.