Authorities searching for an escaped inmate Thursday declined to discuss exactly how or when he slipped away from the north-central Ohio prison where he worked in the maintenance area while incarcerated for kidnapping, rape and other crimes.
James David Myers, formerly of Mogadore, was found to be missing from the Mansfield Correctional Institution during a head count Wednesday night — his 47th birthday, according to prison records. No one else was missing.
The facility about 60 miles north of Columbus houses about 2,500 inmates and was operating under stepped-up security Thursday, with escorts required each time an inmate was moved, said JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Authorities said a Tallmadge woman listed as Myers’ victim was alerted and put under law enforcement protection while investigators tried to find the missing inmate and figure out exactly how he escaped.
“We certainly don’t want to see something like this happen at our institution or at any other institution, and we’ll do everything we can do to prevent that from happening again,” said warden Terry Tibbals.
Tibbals wouldn’t comment on the types of equipment or tools Myers might have been able to access through his job in the maintenance area. He also wouldn’t discuss whether Myers previously tried to escape.
The facility hadn’t had an escape since December 2011, when an inmate who was outside of the prison walked away, Smith said.
The State Highway Patrol surveyed the area with a helicopter Thursday morning once weather conditions allowed for such a search, Capt. Herb Homan said.
Authorities refused to discuss whether they were investigating anyone else in connection with Myers’ disappearance, citing concerns that revealing such information would hinder the search.
Myers was imprisoned in 2010 on kidnapping, rape, aggravated burglary and other charges out of northeast Ohio’s Summit County.