SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - A Salt Lake County inmate's escape from jail was short lived, but now officers are saying he may not have acted alone.
Jail officials say Jonathan Mize jumped a fence after being in their garden program for just six days. They also say it is abnormal for minimum security inmates to act out so close to being released. “He had very little time left to do, so it's a little confusing right now that he would do something like this,” said Cammie Skogg spokesperson for the Salt Lake County Jail.
With only 180 days to serve and half of that time completed the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office is trying to piece together why Mize would escape from officers Sunday while working in the Salt Lake County Metro Jail garden. “We haven't ever had anyone who has attempted an escape let alone from this program so we believe it's really isolated what he did,” said Skogg.
Before making a run for it, officers say Mize had been behind bars since January for nearly 30 warrants mostly involving theft and fraud. However, he didn't get very far. “After about two hours we discovered him in a trailer in a junk yard at 600 west and 3300 south,” said Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder. “We had thought maybe he called for a ride, but when we interviewed those people there wasn't any indication they knew this was an escape,” said Skogg.
Officers say during his arrest they also found several other people who they suspected were involved with his escape. Three of those people were booked they include Dana Terry, Wendy Vowles and James Hymas. “They were at the scene when we found the escapee but we do not have any charges on them for that they were just booked on drug charges or additional warrants,” said Skogg.
Officers are now sorting through evidence taken from Mize's cell including letters that may indicate if this was a planned getaway. Either way he will now be facing felony escape charges and serving a much longer period behind bars. “Anytime something like this happens you want to make sure your procedures and the way you do business are correct and if we need to fix something we will,” said Skogg.
Jail officials say Mize is now considered maximum security and will likely never be anything less than medium security while behind bars. He is also now facing prison time.