Published October 29, 2007
WICHITA, Kan. – The brother of a former prison guard allegedly on the run with two prison escapees from the El Dorado Correctional Center pleaded Monday for his sister to "just come home."
Authorities said the former corrections officer, Amber Goff, 23, played a role in helping the two inmates, Steven A. Ford and Jesse L. Bell, escape from a recreation yard Sunday night.
A vehicle traced to Goff that was found 15 miles away in Augusta contained items linked to the escape, prison officials said. Evidence found at Goff's home -- including driving directions to Canada -- has also implicated her in the escape plot.
But the investigation's focus later shifted to Sayre, Okla., where Oklahoma authorities found inmate clothing believed to be belong to the escapees shortly after 10 a.m. Monday, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections. Sayre is about 300 miles southwest of El Dorado.
One of the inmates may have been injured during the escape and could be seeking medical attention, said Bill Miskell, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Corrections.
Bell, 33, is serving sentences from Finney, Leavenworth and Cowley counties for forgery, burglary, battery and escape. Ford, 26, is serving a sentence from Wyandotte County for robbery and indecent liberties.
"Just come home. Just come home before something bad happens," her older brother, Jonathan Crutcher, said between sobs in a phone interview from his Augusta home.
Crutcher told The Associated Press that Goff was "a great mom, a good sister" and that the family does not know what happened.
"We don't know where she is at," Crutcher said. "All we want is for her to come back home safe. She is out there with those animals."
Goff is a divorced mother, he said. She left Sunday to go on a date and never came home.
She left behind personal belongings for family members, including a book she had written to her children that police confiscated, according to family members.
"All signs point to my sister never coming home," Crutcher said.
Crutcher, who also used to work at the El Dorado Correctional Center, said his sister never mentioned the two escapees and that she knew better than to talk at home about the inmates.
Goff was employed at the prison from September 2006 until this month. The prison houses about 1,350 inmates, with about 1,178 inmates in its maximum security unit.
"None of us were aware she was being fired," Crutcher said. "Something changed because this is not my sister."
The two escapees were being held in the highest level of security, Miskell said. They escaped from an individual exercise area where they are allowed five times a week. Guards arrived within minutes after the inmates cut the fence, setting off the alarm.
Authorities believe the escapees ran to a waiting car near the facility, he said.
Goff, Ford and Bell are now believed to be traveling in a rented 2007 light blue Ford Taurus with Arkansas license plates 088 LJT.
Authorities said the fugitives should be considered armed and dangerous.
A reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and apprehension of Goff and the escapees was authorized by Kansas Department of Corrections Secretary Roger Werholtz.