SHERMAN, Texas – Two of five inmates who had tunneled their way out of jail were captured Friday, but the other three fled after taking a woman hostage at a horse stable, authorities said.
The men – all of whom have been accused or convicted of serious crimes, including assault, kidnapping and child rape – were tracked to Jolabec Stables west of McKinney, about 45 miles south of Sherman and the jail from which they escaped.
Three inmates fled with the woman in two stolen pickup trucks, Norton said. Detectives were questioning the woman's husband, who was unharmed.
About 50 law officers, including Texas Rangers, searched for the men. Bloodhounds were brought in to help deputies on horseback.
The inmates were discovered missing from the Grayson County Jail during a routine, head count about 1:45 a.m. Friday, said Sheriff's Lt. David Hawley. Sherman is about 60 miles north of Dallas.
They had jimmied the locks on their cell doors, crawled through the ventilation system and tunneled their way out through a dirt floor in the basement, leaving behind wadded-up sheets and newspapers in their bunks.
The men left their orange jail uniforms behind, indicating they had changed clothes. Officials said they do not know where the men were headed or what they were wearing.
The men, who were in individual cells in a maximum-security cellblock, had stuffed their bunks to try to conceal their absence.
"They figured out how to bypass the doors, jimmy them open, without anyone being wiser," Hawley said.
The men apparently crawled through air vents and made their way to the basement, where they dug a tunnel no more than 10 feet long and two feet in diameter. The dirt floor was soft, making it easy to tunnel to the outside using construction debris left in the basement, officials said.
Sheriff Keith Gary said authorities will investigate how the escape was made and "make whatever corrections there are."
"I don't want to make excuses, but you all understand you have a handful of employees trying to supervise hundreds of inmates, and they have all day to think of ways" to escape, he said.