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5 head counts miss escaped inmate; internal probe underway

This surveillance photo from the Southcentral Regional Jail shows Todd Boyes minutes before he walked out of the jail Wednesday.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety is trying to find out why the staff at the Southcentral Regional Jail in Charleston didn’t notice an inmate was missing after five head counts.

Todd Boyes, 43, of Caldwell, Ohio, obtained a pair of khaki pants, a dark-colored pullover and white shoes and changed in his cell before walking out of the jail at around 5:50 a.m. Wednesday, according to authorities.

The search for Boyes began at around 12:40 a.m. Friday, about 43 hours after he walked out of the jail. Investigators said they had received no tips on his possible whereabouts as of mid-afternoon Friday.

In a statement released Friday evening by DMAPS, the agency said Boyes was not reported missing despite three formal, end-of-shift head counts and two informal, overnight counts.

“The ongoing investigation is focused on whether the procedure for these counts was followed properly. The procedure involves the lockdown of inmates and the matching of inmates to booking and Offender Information System records, among other measures,” the statement said.

Todd Boyes at his February arraignment in Charleston.

A head count taken at 7 p.m. Thursday showed Boyes missing. Jail staff then checked the security video and saw Boyes walking out the morning before. State police were alerted six hours later.

Meanwhile, state police said investigators spent most of Friday backtracking Boyes’ activities.

The investigation includes police in several states. Boyes is originally from Ohio.

Boyes was scheduled to be sentenced Friday on charges stemming from a police pursuit in February. The 45-minute chase resulted in a police officer hospitalized and Boyes being shot. He entered a plea agreement Sept. 27 which resulted in the dismissal of the attempted murder charge. Boyes is also wanted for several car jackings in the state of Ohio.

Charleston Police Chief Steve Cooper remembers the run-in with Boyes on Feb. 25.

“He was armed with a long rifle. We spotted him in Kanawha City and chased him and he rammed one of our police cars and one of our officers was injured and off work for a while as a result,” Cooper said Friday. “We shot him in the hand. It was not life-threatening.”

Boyes is 5’6, 220 lbs., bald and clean shaven. He is considered armed and dangerous.

“This is a guy we don’t want out here that’s for sure,” Cooper said. “He could be anywhere right now. He is notorious for being armed and notorious for stealing vehicles.”

The DMAPS statement said there’s no excuse for what happened.

“Officials at both the Regional Jail Authority and the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety consider the incident to be a grave and unacceptable breach of their core duty to protect their fellow West Virginians. We intend to address the episode and the results of the ongoing investigation with the utmost seriousness,” the statement said.

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