Advertisement

2 Arkansas escapees were captured after days on the run. Jail staff had not noticed they were gone for 36 hours, officials say

The second of two detainees who escaped an Arkansas jail last week was captured Monday, ending a dayslong manhunt that began as a result of failed head counts by the jail staff, authorities announced.

Noah Roush, 22, and Jatonia Bryant, 23, were discovered missing from the Dub Brassell Adult Detention Center in Pine Bluff on January 22. Roush, who was being held on probable cause for residential burglary and theft of property and is also a homicide suspect, was captured Thursday, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office previously shared.

Bryant, who was being held on probable cause for capital murder, was captured in the east side area of Pine Bluff on Monday, after roughly more than a week on the run, the sheriff’s office announced in a news release. Pine Bluff is roughly 40 miles southeast of Little Rock.

A Jefferson County Sheriff's Office investigator, right, stands next to escapee Jatonia Bryant, 23, following his arrest on Monday in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. - Captain Yohance Brunson/Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
A Jefferson County Sheriff's Office investigator, right, stands next to escapee Jatonia Bryant, 23, following his arrest on Monday in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. - Captain Yohance Brunson/Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

While the probe into the escape is ongoing, the sheriff’s office said an internal investigation revealed jail staff members had not conducted an accurate head count, leading to the escapees having a “36-hour head start.”

Head counts from the evening of January 20 through January 22 were discovered to be inaccurate and “in some situations were not accomplished,” sheriff’s office spokesperson Maj. John Bean told CNN in an email. Multiple head counts are supposed to be completed during jail staff’s shifts, Bean added.

The sheriff’s office said it has taken a number of steps since 2019 to correct “structural vulnerabilities,” including updating camera systems, fences and perimeter intrusion systems around the facility, but added it still relies “heavily on our jail personnel for detainee security.”

Noah Roush, 22, was captured last week. - Jefferson Co Sheriff's Office
Noah Roush, 22, was captured last week. - Jefferson Co Sheriff's Office

“This failure on the part of our jailers, to not follow policies and procedures, is not in keeping with the high standards set by the JCSO,” the news release said. “This investigation continues as well, and each person will be dealt with accordingly.”

But Bean said the sheriff’s office has also struggled in recent years to hire and retain jail staff members, a problem faced by many correctional facilities across the US.

In a statement, Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr. said he plans to continue improving systems to help prevent escapes and added the office recently invested in resources that can help them “retain valued detention employees and more selectively recruit new ones.”

“Previous administrations enjoyed budgets that included 48 jail guard slots. We’re now down to 20, so it is without doubt that even further investment in our detention workforce is warranted,” the sheriff added.

Additionally, the sheriff’s office said it will continue to work on bringing criminal charges against anyone who may have helped the two escapees in evading authorities.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com