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Texas inmate, wielding knife, escapes after court appearance

Texas inmate Joshua Nigel Thomas Sanders, 35, escaped using a knife after a court appearance in Houston Thursday. Courtesy of Harris County Sheriff's Office.
Texas inmate Joshua Nigel Thomas Sanders, 35, escaped using a knife after a court appearance in Houston Thursday. Courtesy of Harris County Sheriff's Office.

June 13 (UPI) -- A Texas prison inmate wielding a knife escaped after appearing in a Houston courtroom Thursday, holding an employee of the district attorney's office against her will and attempting to take her car, police said.

Joshua Nigel Thomas Sanders, 35, was still at large Thursday evening after escaping at about 3:30 p.m. local time, authorities said.

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"He went to court today, and it appears on his way back from court he was able to facilitate an escape," Harris County Sheriff's Assistant Chief Phillip Bosquez said at a news conference.

"He accosted a woman during that escape, once he got out on the street, and he jumped in her car. She wrecked that car within just a few feet," he said.

Sanders had forced his way into the car and once it was disabled, he jumped out and ran down the street. It was the last time he was on camera, officials said. The woman who had been held at knifepoint was released unharmed, the Harris County District Attorney's Office said.

"She was of course shaken up, but she was not injured," Bosquez said. The woman was leaving work when the incident occurred.

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Sanders had been in custody for three counts of burglary and one count of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, Bosquez said.

"We truly believe we'll run him to the ground," he said. The sheriff's office asked for the public's help in finding Sanders.

Officials are investigating how the escape occurred and have not speculated on how he got the knife that he used during the escape.

Sanders is reported to be 5 feet, 5 inches tall and 140 pounds. Marines searched the nearby Buffalo bayou for the suspect. Sanders, whom the court considered a transient, has no fixed address, Bosquez said, and authorities believe he is still armed with the knife he used in the escape.

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