ELYRIA, Ohio (WJW) — Police officers across the region are on the lookout for two men, who escaped from a minimum-security facility in Elyria 10 days ago.
The escape was first reported last night, and many people are asking why it wasn’t reported immediately after it happened.
On the night of June 29, the two inmates escaped from the Lorain/Medina Community Based Correctional Facility in Elyria.
Investigators say Kevin McKitrick of Elyria, who was incarcerated for aggravated robbery, and Justin Hamilton of Vermilion, who was serving time for tampering with evidence, made their escape by using a drawer from a locker to smash out a window in their dormitory.
Investigators say a woman was waiting in a truck outside, drove across the grounds of LMCBCF, picked the two men up, and then drove back across the yard outside from the minimum security lockup, before heading onto Murray Ridge Road.
Executive Director Mike Willets told Fox 8, “This is not a prison. I mean, it’s not the prison that most people in public may think it should be. This is a rehab center.”
Willets says the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office was notified within 10 minutes of the escape, but deputies did not notify the media and the public until Thursday.
We asked Willets about the 10 day delay in reporting the escape.
“The offenders are here because of technical violations, they’re not here because of the crimes that they were first incarcerated for, so you have a threat to the community that is very minimal. There seems to be a large concern regarding this issue and we just don’t see it. If these were offenders that had escaped from the county jail or had pending charges and they had a real risk of re-offending, of course we would have let the public know,” he said.
McKitrick and Hamilton were sent to the community-based facility as an alternative to jail or prison, and had an opportunity to take part in educational programs and counseling.
“They are here to change the way they think, the way they act and the consequences that they’ve been suffering for most of their life, either through drug use or the crimes they commit,” said Willets.
Authorities say as a result of the escape, the two men have forfeited the opportunity they were given, and will likely face time in a real prison.
The escape is also prompting administrators to consider stronger security measures at the facility, including putting bars on the windows.
“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people that just don’t have the ability to take advantage of the situation, and they think with their same thinking that got them into trouble here,” said Willets.
The woman who drove the getaway truck has been arrested and is facing criminal charges. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Kevin McKitrick and Justin Hamilton is asked to call the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office, your local police department or 911.