How Did Rutherford County Inmates Manage To Escape From Jail?

Posted at 4:31 PM, Oct 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-11 19:11:13-04

With both Rutherford County Jail escapees back behind bars, the focus now turns to exactly how they escaped in the first place.

The Sheriff declined comment on specific details since the investigation is still active, but sources told NewsChannel 5 how the two inmates likely pulled off the daring escape.

Initially, the sheriff said the inmates climbed the fence and made their way out over the razor wire, but if that was the case, there would have been a lot of blood. That's not what happened.

It turns out the actual escape was relatively pain free for the inmates. Dewayne Halfacre and Jonathan Baxter simply walked out of the jail.

"As we investigated more, we found out they escaped through a side door," said Lisa Marchesoni, the sheriff's public information officer.

So how do two high security inmates escape from their cells, make it down to the first floor, and out the door to freedom?

Halfacre and Baxter are sure to be questioned. Sources said the two inmates somehow escaped their cells and jumped a female officer, pulling her into a stairwell and taking her radio. An "officer needing assistance" alert was issued.

That's when someone -- quite possibly Halfacre and Baxter themselves -- started pushing the call button requesting that the secure doors be unlocked, and according to sources, a detention officer in central control did just that.

"In the chaos that followed from that moment, another officer inadvertently let the inmates out an outside door," said Marchesoni.

She indicated the detention officer failed to follow proper procedure and added what happened is still under investigation.

It all happened during third shift hours in the middle of the night. Clearly something went wrong, but the escape could have been prevented.

Read More: Escaped Rutherford County Inmates Captured

It's worth noting that this was the first escape from inside this jail in 20 years. They are taking steps to make sure it never happens again.