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Deputies Looking For Two People Who Helped Inmate Escape

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Posted at 9:33 AM, Jun 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 02:25:22-04

ALTAMONT, Tenn. – Officials want to know who helped a Grundy County inmate escape from jail. They believe he had help from two people.

Inmate Kenneth Jason Franklin escaped from the Grundy County jail in Altamont Wednesday night. Sheriff’s Office officials said the 43-year-old slipped out of a worship service and escaped.

Franklin apparently asked a volunteer facilitator to go to the bathroom. Officials said the facilitator should have called a correctional officer, but allowed Franklin to leave the building unsupervised.

While outside, Franklin ran to a part of damaged part of the fence in a far corner, crawled under and ran off.

Investigators believed he met someone outside the perimeter who picked him up in a car and drove off.

Franklin was found late Friday night in Marion County, about an hour south.

An off-duty deputy with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office was fishing when he discovered Franklin unconscious and lying on the ground. He also had plastic tied around his boots.

The deputy called for assistance, and investigators were able to identify Franklin by a large tattoo across his chest.

He was taken back into custody. Officials with the Grundy County Sheriff’s Office said Franklin was booked into an undisclosed location. They said it was in Middle Tennessee, but would not specify where – other than to say it was not in Marion or Grundy Counties.

Franklin had been serving a 20-year sentence since April for several charges, including reckless endangerment and assault with a vehicle. He told officials he did not want to die in jail. It was known if he had any ongoing health or medical issues.

Officials believed a second person assisted Franklin in his escape, but they did not say exactly how that person was involved. It was not clear if they had either person’s identity.

The Grundy County County Sheriff acknowledged problems with the jail. He said it was a 43-year-old jail, but a new $6.5 million facility was under construction and expected to be completed by March 2016.

He said the fence where Franklin escaped has already been repaired, and they were reviewing security policies to see what else could be done to avoid similar situations in the future.