Fugitive Michigan killer captured in Indiana

Feb. 3, 2014 at 9:30 PM
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IONIA, Mich., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- A convicted four-time killer who escaped from a Michigan prison was captured Monday in Indiana, concluding a massive manhunt, authorities said.

Michigan Corrections Department spokesman Russ Marlan said the fugitive, Michael David Elliot, was being held in the LaPorte County Jail in Indiana following his apprehension, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Details of the 40-year-old murderer's arrest were not available.

Elliot allegedly carjacked a sport utility vehicle in Ionia, Mich., then abandoned it in Indiana Monday after leaving the woman driver at a gas station where she called authorities from a bathroom.

The LaGrange County Sheriff's Department said the woman's 2004 Jeep Liberty was found in Shipshewana, Ind., Monday morning and authorities urged people in the area to lock their homes and stay indoors, WSBT-TV, South Bend, Ind., reported. Classes were dismissed at a nearby elementary school as a precaution.

The SUV apparently had been sitting in the residential neighborhood for several hours before authorities were alerted.

LaGrange County is adjacent to Elkhart County, where the woman was left behind.

Officials said Elliot wore a kitchen uniform and was armed with a box cutter when he escaped from the Ionia Correctional Center, the Free Press reported.

"We learned that apparently he had maneuvered the fencing." Marlan said. "And then crawled through a hole in the interior and exterior facility fences."

Michigan Department of Corrections Director Dan Heyns said the recent privatization of food services was not tied to the escape.

"He was not assigned to the kitchen," Heyns said. "He got a uniform and used that."

Soon after he escaped, Elliot abducted the woman at a gas station in Ionia, using the box cutter as a weapon. They drove to Elkhart where they stopped for gas. Marlan said the woman called 911 and Elliot fled in her vehicle.

How Elliot got the box cutter was undetermined, officials said.

The Free Press said he was serving a life sentence for four first-degree murder convictions in addition to terms for arson and armed robbery.

Marlan said prison officials realized Elliot was missing during a formal count Sunday night.

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