Three escaped Florida inmates remain on the run

By Allen Cone  |  Nov. 18, 2017 at 1:59 PM
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Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Authorities are searching for three inmates who escaped from a county jail in northern Florida.

Wakulla County Sheriff's Office is leading a search for Joel Cooper, Donald Cotterman and Casey Martina. Officials said the three men escaped through the ceiling of the jail's law library at 12:09 a.m. Friday in Crawfordsville, which is 18 miles south of Tallahassee.

Cooper, 43, was awaiting an appeal on a 2011 conviction for burglary of a dwelling, fleeing an officer and criminal mischief. Cotterman, 44, is a registered sex offender charged with burglary, criminal mischief and weapons possession. Martina, 25, was facing charges of burglary, theft, grand theft of a motor vehicle and criminal mischief.

Martina and Cotterman face up to life in prison if convicted of their most recent charges.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported Saturday investigators believe the men are no longer in the area after searching the woods and rural areas of Crawfordville with air support, tracking dogs and a massive law enforcement presence.

They have questioned about 80 of trio's contacts within the past few months.

"Please understand that we are as frustrated about not finding these inmates at this point as you," the sheriff's office posted on Facebook. But understand that we will not stop or relent until we find these individuals and safely return them behind bars.

The sheriff's office said it is reviewing its practices and policies at the jail, which has a capacity of 350 inmates.

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