Escaped Sandusky County Jail inmates captured

FREMONT - Both inmates who escaped from the Sandusky County Jail on Monday were captured in Toledo on Wednesday and are back in custody, according to Sandusky County Sheriff Chris Hilton.

Mickey Mantle Hardy, 37, was caught by officers with the U.S. Marshal's Service and was booked back into the county jail Wednesday afternoon.

Hilton confirmed Wednesday night that Jordan Chapman, 26, had also been taken into custody in Toledo.

"He's currently in Lucas County Jail. I've got two detectives en route to pick him up at this time," Hilton said Wednesday evening.

Hilton said Hardy was recaptured around 1 p.m. at a residence at 713 Buckeye St. in North Toledo. The Lucas County Sheriff's Office and Toledo Police Department assisted in the recapture and Hardy was taken into custody without incident.

"He did not express to me why he decided to do it," Hilton said at the county jail Wednesday afternoon.

Hilton said an acquaintance heard over the Fremont police scanner that the two men had escaped and then drove to the area, picking up Hardy and Chapman near Castalia Street about an hour after they went over the fence in a jail recreation area.


The acquaintance, whom Hilton did not identify, dropped Chapman off at a home in Fremont.

Hardy told sheriff's detectives the two men split up and he didn't know what happened to Chapman.

Hilton said detectives are still interviewing Hardy and his girlfriend to try and piece together what happened.

Both Hardy and Chapman have violent pasts and are considered dangerous.

Earlier Wednesday, Fremont resident Melanie Grillis said she and her family had been on "high alert" after hearing the news that two inmates had escaped from the Sandusky County Jail around 3:20 p.m. Monday.

Grillis and her family had been sitting outside and decided to head indoors in case the inmates cut through their property on County Road 398, just two miles from the jail from which Chapman and Hardy had escaped.

"We weren't scared, but we were on high alert," Grillis told The News-Messenger on Wednesday. "We starting seeing police cars driving by and went inside."

Grillis said the family locked their doors and watched law-enforcement authorities patrol the area.

"They were there for about four hours," Grillis said. "The sheriff's office spoke to us and put us at ease."

After the initial reaction on Monday, Grillis said she and her family returned to their normal routines, but acknowledged that the escape provided some tense moments Monday.

Fremont Country Club Operations Manager Brian Boggs said the club closed its pool Monday after hearing that two jail inmates had escaped.

"We are closed on Mondays, but we have some members golfing and the pool was open," Boggs said. "For the safety of the members we closed the pool down."

Boggs said police used the country club has a location to search for the inmates, using golf carts and driving cruisers on the golf course in their search for the escapees.

"We did have a private event at the club later that day, but we locked the doors and had police in the area," Boggs said.

Hilton said the two inmates escaped through an unlocked, malfunctioning door to the outdoor recreation area of the jail that is operated through the control room inside the jail.

Hardy and Chapman, as well as other inmates, noticed the door was unlocked around 3:05 p.m., Hilton said.

The sheriff said the two men escaped around 3:18 p.m., with no other inmates joining them in their escape.

Hilton said K-9 units for the Sandusky County Sheriff's Office, Ohio Highway Patrol and Border Patrol were used in an attempt to track the suspects.

Hilton said early Wednesday, before Hardy's recapture, that Hardy and Chapman could have been picked up in a vehicle and driven out of town.

"Our K-9 did track for quite a while, then lost the track. So being picked up is a possibility," Hilton said.

Orange jail pants were recovered near the cornfield the two ran through after escaping the jail, Hilton said.

The escape was the second at the jail since March 2016, when Nick Maldonado managed to escape.

Maldonado was captured 50 minutes after breaking out of the jail's outdoor recreation area when authorities used a drone to spot him walking along U.S. 20 near County Road 198.

Hilton said attributed Monday's escape to a lack of manpower at the jail, with only four corrections officers monitoring between 12 and 13 inmates who are outside for recreation at a time.

"We are going to have to change protocol," Hilton said Tuesday. "We don't have enough (corrections officers) in the jail right now."

Both Hardy, 37, of Fostoria, and Chapman, 26, of Fremont, have prior convictions of assault.

Hardy was convicted in 2001 on trafficking in cocaine, and pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine in 2004, and trafficking in cocaine and assault in 2007.

Chapman was in the Sandusky County Jail on felony charges of receiving stolen property, having weapons while on parole and tampering with evidence.

Previously Chapman was found guilty on felony charges of receiving stolen property in 2011, aggravated menacing in 2013 and burglary and attempted felonious assault in January 2015.

Chapman spent 24 months in prison for his 2015 convictions.

Hilton said there was an ongoing internal investigation into how the inmates managed to escape through the door, with discipline possible for jail guards.

He said the results of that investigation would probably be ready by next week.

The sheriff said there could also be charges filed against Hardy's girlfriend, the driver of the vehicle that picked up the two men in Fremont, as well as anyone else who aided the inmates while they were on the run.

Jail officials segregated Hardy from other inmates after he was booked Wednesday afternoon following his capture in Toledo.

Hilton said the malfunctioning door was rewired and is now working properly. He said jail officials plan to put in additional rows of razor wire on the inside of the recreation area fence, as well as on the roof of the jail.

"So anybody who wants to get out of there is going to be really cut up," Hilton said.

cshoup@gannett.com

The Fremont News-Messenger


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