Pemiscot Co. sheriff makes changes in wake of inmates escape

Tour of Pemiscot County Jail
Updated: Oct. 26, 2017 at 7:12 PM CDT
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(Source: KFVS)
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CARUTHERSVILLE, MO (KFVS) - Eleven days ago, two inmates did something that's never happened before - they broke out of the Pemiscot County Jail.

"I've been sheriff 20 years, never had an escape," Sheriff Tommy Greenwell said. "And it was a total shock to me."

October 26, Kathy Sweeney spent time with Greenwell to find out how they pulled it off.

"This is the cell they were housed in," said the sheriff.  "They were in this cell by themselves."

Sheriff Tommy Greenwell says William Carter and Joseph Latamondeer had roughly 20 days to come up with the plan they used to escape October 15.

First, they found a makeshift tool mounted on their cell wall.

"This is part of the grab bar we told you about that we've taken out of the facility now," Greenwell says as he shows the piece of metal used in their escape.

Next, they used a well-known jailhouse method of keeping their cell unlocked.

"They, what we call, capped the door to where it showed secured but it really wasn't", Greenwell explains.  "So, later on, that night after they locked down, they could just take the door and manually slide it open which gave them access to the shower."

"Once they got into the shower, they were able to take this stainless steel plate out which just slides in here and it had security screws in which they jimmied," Greenwell said.  "The air conditioning and heating duct runs right above this ceiling here and you can see where they tore part of that out.  And once they got that tore out, they had access to the plumbing closet."

Greenwell showed outside the plumbing closet the inmates crawled to.

"They came just through where the trunk line came through the concrete wall," said the sheriff.  "And once they came through that hole, they dropped down to here and they beat the backside of that lock off that door.  And as soon as they opened the door, the alarm sounded in the control room.  That's how the control operator knew she had a problem."

Do you think that these two knew that shaft would take them to an outside door, or do you think it was just luck that that's where they dropped?

"I personally think they just got up in there and it was luck," Greenwell said.  "And they happened to drop down in there and there they were."

Sheriff Greenwell says he had no idea three of his pods in the jail had this same layout.

He's having those showers overhauled and rebar installed to block those shafts.

He said all cell doors will now be manually checked at lockdown, and he'll have no less than three CO's on duty at all times.

I asked him about the persistent rumor that someone on the inside may have helped these two escape.

"There's no indication whatsoever there's any employees involved in this," said Greenwell.

Now, do you think there was somebody on the outside who helped them once they got out?

"I think they did," said Greenwell.  "Usually, somebody somewhere is gonna see them.  And we don't have any sightings of them at all.  I don't feel they're in the area.  The Marshals that are helping us we all feel that they're gone.  Now, where they're gone to we're not sure."

Sheriff Greenwell says the U.S. Marshal Service, the FBI, and the Missouri Highway Patrol continue the effort to track Carter and Latamondeer down.

He believes they are out of our area, but asks the public to be careful and keep an eye out just in case.

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