How The Great Escape Unfolded
So, to go over all that we have covered so far tonight: two more escapes have been recaptured - bringing the total to 5, with one dead, and 22 still at large.
The manhunt continues, and while police have taken away the M4 Carbine assault rifle that had been stolen form a pitons guard, the gunshot wounds to a BDF soldiers from the inmates - suggest strongly that he was hit with a shotgun. So, the escapees are believed to have at leat one other weapon.
And, thirdly, police have received reports from within the prison population saying explicitly that it was an inside job - with the cooperation of at least two prison guards - the same ones who allegedly would supply certain prisoners with drugs. The alleged ringleader is ??rl?? ??nt??? - who was identified as that by the prison CEO yesterday, along with ???? Gu?rr? and ???l ???rr?.
Here again is the prison CEO with the breakdown of the very unusual circumstances dejecting how the prisoners got free:
Virgilio Murillo, C.E.O., Kolbe Foundation
"The prison officer from the Administrative Segregation of the Prison was lured under the pretense that there was a prisoner that needed assistance, and the reports are indicating that when he went to offer that assistance, despite not being clear on what assistance was needed, the inmate that told him about the prisoner needing assistance followed behind and apparently there was the other workman out at the time and that workman hit him, and when he hit him he took away a pocket knife that he had and he went towards the office of the Administrative Segregation area and he waited for the other prison officer who was busy out checking other cells, and when the prison officer reached the office then he stuck him up with the pen knife and threatened to kill him. But I must say the first officer after they knocked him out, the first officer who was lured he was knocked out, slightly unconscious, they threw him in a cell and they took off his uniform and they put it on and when the other guy came off the outer building from checking the reports have it that he was stuck up with the same pen knife that was taken away from the first officer and he too was escorted to the cellblock where the other officer was already locked in and he was locked up, his uniform was taken and apparently they were handcuffed and gagged based on what I heard. The inmate with the knife then went up and he climbed up the stairs to the tower and he went and relieved the officer of the M223 rifle and pretty much escorted him down at gunpoint and also locked him up in the cell with the other two. That is what we have, and they held them there at gunpoint from 1 o'clock there about in the afternoon until 6' o'clock when it got dark but of course not before taking out other prisoners with the keys that they relieved one of the officers of. So that is our position and situation currently."
Again, that narrative suggests the possibility of collusion - and if not, then a massive breakdown in standard operating procedures and basic system vigilance. We'll keep following this aspect of the story very closely.
And to go over those names, the alleged ringleader is ??rl?? ??nt??? - who was identified as that by the prison CEO yesterday, along with ???? Gu?rr? and ???l ???rr?.
Two Prisoners Caught, 22 Remain Free
Tonight, 22 prison escapees remain on the loose, after two were recaptured today. They are Guatemalan Juan Ramirez Garcia who was captured at the Lord's Bank Junction and Kevin Buller, who was captured this afternoon. They have both been taken back to the Central Prison.
They join 3 others who were recaptured yesterday:
Mark Pelayo, Christoper Bradley, and George Bednarik. They have all been charged for escape from prison.
And, as we reported, another escapee, Akeem Tillett was killed yesterday - more on that later.
So that leaves 22 at large, desperate, dangerous and armed criminals - still believed to be within the Belize District, roaming the countryside, likely desperate for food and water. Again, they are considered to be armed and dangerous - and anyone seeing them or anything suspicious is asked to call 922 to share anonymous information.
And Police say there was surely something suspicious happening at the prison which allowed this breakout - which is the largest in Belize's history.
Was it an inside job? That's what many have been asking. After all, how could 28 men escape at 1:00 pm, supposedly hold three guards hostage until 6:00 pm, set 28 men free, and no one else in the prison knew.
Well, information coming from within the prison population says that one of the escapees, Carlos Montejo, set up the breakout along with a number of the prison guards - the same guards who supply them with drugs, the prisoner claims.
Police are looking at that information very closely - but the priority right now is to find the 22 who are still at large.
Today, Charisse Halsall went to the orange orchard off the Coastal Highway where one prisoner was killed and another captured. Here's here story:
Tonight, 23 Prison escapees are still roaming the countryside.
That's after one of them, Akeem Tillett, a man charged with burglarizing the YMCA among other convictions, was killed yesterday in an exchange of gunfire with the police.
Cherisse Halsall, reporter
I'm standing on a Feeder road off the Coastal. This area called "the orchard" is where a BDF Lance Corporal was shot, and a policeman grazed. Gunfire came out of the bushes/greenery while they sat in a mobile. They fired back, and when the smoke cleared escapee Akeem Tillett was dead and beside him police found the M4 Carbine assault rifle that had been stolen from the prison.
4 of Tillet's comrades either surrendered or were captured by police. Leroy Young was working near the orchard when the bullets started to fly.
Leroy Young, Works near the orchard
"We weren't thinking that they would come here. We saw the pickups going down the road there and after that, we heard gunshots, yes. It was after the gunshots they started to shoot down there that we realized the prisoners were down there. When they came out they just came through the gate and they went."
"So you didn't see them with anybody in custody?"
Leroy Young, Works near the orchard
"No, no, no because we are way here so we couldn't see inside the vehicle."
Police continue to intensely search the area of the Belize District between mile 17-31 where they know that the convicts have robbed and terrorised at least one person.
Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police
"We still believe that the area between mile 17 and mile 31 on the George Price Highway right in that vicinity of Democracia on the Coastal road, the Sibun River area and so we're concentrating our search there. A family had reported that about 20 of them had arrived at their home last night and that they took their food supplies and left. So we are sure that they are in that area and we hope that before the end of the day we should be able to have the majority of them in custody."
Authorities still hope that these men who, by now are desperate for food and shelter will turn themselves in and that their families, and the wider public will refrain from harboring known fugitives.
We note that while an M4 Carbine was recovered - apparently is not the only weapon the escapees have. 7News has been reliably informed that the BDF soldier who was injured in that shootout, Lance Corporal Flowers was hit by shotgun pellets - which are lodged in his leg and chest. That likely means the escapees also have a shotgun - which has not been reported stolen at this time. Flowers is recovering from his injuries which are not not life threatening.
Police constable Whakyem Martinez was also grazed to the waist in the exchange.