JAILBREAK...Ozark County inmate captured after escaping from jail with help from fellow prisoner Friday afternoon
Robert Abbott, 45, of Koshkonong, was reportedly found Friday afternoon hiding in an outbuilding near a Gainesville resident’s home on County Road 806 about a half hour after he allegedly escaped from the nearby Ozark County Jail.
Abbott, who is facing dozens of felony charges, including several connected to a four-day crime spree last month when he is alleged to have stolen at least six vehicles and several guns, is now charged with an additional felony count of escaping from confinement.
Abbott is being held without bond at this time. He was arraigned Monday before Associate Circuit Judge Raymond Gross. Public defender John H. Kizer entered his appearance as Abbott’s attorney, and a bond-reduction hearing was set for Sept. 10.
According to the probable cause statement filed in the new case by Ozark County Sheriff’s Deputy Cpl. Curtis Dobbs, Pablo Sanchez, the Ozark County Jail administrator, contacted Dobbs at 2:04 p.m. Aug. 28 to alert the officer that a prisoner had escaped.
Dobbs began searching the exterior grounds of the sheriff’s office, the report says. When he did not locate Abbott on the jail grounds, he began searching west of the jail on County Road 806, which runs in front of the facility.
“[I] observed from the roadway a person wearing blue jeans without a shirt peering from within a garage near Westridge apartments,” the officer’s report says.
Dobbs and Chief Deputy Winston Collins went to the garage but were unable to locate Abbott. Dobbs then contacted residents in nearby homes to see if they’d spotted the escapee.
“While speaking with a resident, I noticed a door to an exterior building was locked. I asked the resident if it was common for the aforementioned door to be locked, and the resident replied, ‘No.’ I then picked the lock…,” Dobbs wrote.
Inside the locked building, Dobbs saw what appeared to be a person covered with a blanket. Dobbs said he gave Abbott loud verbal commands, and Abbott moved under the blanket. Dobbs deployed his taser, hitting Abbott. Dobbs then placed handcuffs on the defendant and called for help from the sheriff’s office. Collins arrived and transported Abbott back to the jail.
The sheriff’s call log shows that a County Road 806 resident reported that “someone in shorts and sock feet ran through his yard” at 2:04 p.m., and by 2:35 p.m., officers had caught Abbott and then, at 2:42 p.m., he was reported as being “back in custody.”
A nearby resident reportedly had told Dobbs that a pair of blue jeans had been stolen from their outdoor clothes line after Abbott’s escape. Abbott was reportedly wearing the same jeans when he was arrested, apparently in an attempt to ditch his jail-issued jumpsuit and switch to civilian clothing.
Damage to jail recreation yard
After recapturing Abbott, Dobbs went back to the jail, inspected the recreation yard for damage and “discovered a hole in the southwest corner of the fencing,” he wrote. “It appeared the hole was caused by tampering with the wiring of the fence. The hole was large enough in size for a point of escape.”
Dobbs then went inside the jail and watched the security camera footage from the time when Abbott was believed to have escaped. Dobbs wrote that the video shows Abbott climbing through the hole in the fence.
Officers with the Ozark County Sheriff’s Office say the video footage shows that Abbott was aided by another prisoner, Christopher Davis.
Davis, who is being held in the Ozark County Jail in an unrelated case, is now charged with aiding the escape of a prisoner confined for a felony.
If convicted of the class B felony, Davis would be sentenced to five to 15 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections for helping Abbott escape.
Interestingly, Abbott only faces up to four years in prison or one year in jail for the class E felony of escaping.