Round-the-clock manhunt on for ex-Army reservist who escaped Rhode Island detention center

James Morales

James Morales  (WFXT)

A round-the-clock state and federal manhunt was underway Monday for an inmate who escaped from a Rhode Island detention center.

Former Army reservist James Morales, 35, fled Saturday by climbing a basketball hoop to reach a rooftop, cutting through a fence and climbing through razor wire, the Wyatt Correctional Center warden Daniel Martin said.

Martin added said it took more than three hours to discover Morales was missing. Two officers have been placed on leave after his escape.

Massachusetts state police said Monday they recovered a stolen vehicle believed to have been used by Morales. Police said he likely fled to Attleboro, Mass. and stole the car.

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The search for Morales is now focusing on Framingham after the discovery of the car. Authorities found surveillance footage of a man with Morales’ description walking in downtown Framingham on Sunday, according to Fox 25 Boston.

The station reported that Morales may have knocked on the door of an ex-girlfriend. Neighbors said that she and her two kids were taken away from the area for their safety.

Morales is facing charges for allegedly stealing 16 guns from a U.S. Army Reserve Center. The FBI said he stole assault rifles and handguns from an armory in Worcester, Mass., in 2015. He’s also facing child rape charges.

According to Fox 25 Boston, Morales was last accounted for during a head count at 7 p.m. Saturday. The last escape at the Wyatt Detention Center was in 1996.

Morales, 35, has an eagle neck tattoo and anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call 911.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click for more from Fox 25 Boston.