YDC escapees gone for 2 hours before search begins

News 12 First at Five / Monday, Oct. 22, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It took a car chase, a canine unit surrender and a statewide search to round up the five teenagers that escaped.

Deputies say it took everyone involved to find them all.

"It's a collaborative effort from everybody in the community and in the local government," said Richmond County Lt. Randy Prickett.

That's how these cousins, Wayne and Kendrick Johnson, and three other juveniles were tracked down after escaping from the Youth Development Campus Friday night.

"If everybody works hand in hand, we can resolve stuff like this quickly. If not, it takes a lot longer," Lt. Prickett said.

According to a preliminary timeline from the DJJ, a corrections officer noticed the five were missing around 8:40 p.m. Friday.

A few minutes later, at 8:45 p.m., an off-duty officer reported seeing the group nearby.

But it wasn't until nearly two hours after that when the Georgia State Patrol and Richmond County deputies were called in to help with the search.

"You've got a lot of folks involved, you got the Department of Juvenile Justice, of course it was their inmates that had escaped, they assisted us with canine and with some of their personnel," Prickett said.

The juveniles didn't get very far. Officials say they stole a car, then led deputies on a chase that ended on Byron Place.

One witness who lives on that street saw the whole thing.

"Whoever they was they drive good, they should have been a stunt man or something. I ain't never seen that many police cars after one person," Nakendrick Glover said.

"That's generally what happens. If they don't live real locally, if they're here from out of town, they're going to try to steal a car and go somewhere," Prickett said.

Deputies say three of the five teenagers were captured when the car chase ended.

Kendrick and Wayne Johnson ran off into the woods. A canine unit tracked down Kendrick quickly, and Wayne was eventually caught a day and half later.

It was around the intersection of Barton Chapel and Milledgeville Road where an off-duty staff member spotted Johnson and alerted a nearby deputy.

Now they are all back in custody -- Wayne and Kendrick in the Richmond County Jail -- charged with escape and vehicle theft.

The other three juveniles are being held at RYDC.

The DJJ says even though the juveniles were reported missing from their dorm early in the night, they must do a thorough search of the grounds to make sure they're not hiding somewhere on the campus.

That means they have to comb through 456 acres and 23 buildings before officially calling it an escape.

They say investigating how the five escaped is now the top priority.

To see the timeline of the escape and other information, click here.

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