Mother Believes Inmates Had Inside Help Escaping Rutherford Co. Jail

Posted at 4:00 PM, Oct 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-15 19:06:46-04

Two Rutherford County jail escapees were captured and put back behind bars after escaping, but one of their mothers thinks they had help on the inside.

No one jumped razor wire or filed through a steel bar. Instead, the inside doors just unlocked, allowing the Dewayne Halfacre and Jonathan Baxter to simply walk out of the Rutherford County jail and disappear.

Their disappearance led to a nearly two-day manhunt for the men considered armed and dangerous

Citizens were on edge. Schools were put on soft lockdown until the inmates were caught last Thursday.

The question now: How did they escape?

"Nothing was ever mentioned that he was planning or doing anything like this," said Kathy Corcoran, Baxter's mother.

But Corcoran believes her son and his fellow inmate Halfacre had help.

"Absolutely. There's no doubt in my mind because it doesn't make sense," said Corcoran.

She can't imagine how the two, after overpowering a female deputy, made it down through locked doors to a loading dock where they just walked away.

Sheriff's Department investigators confirmed a detention officer failed to follow proper procedure.

"In the chaos that followed another officer inadvertently let the inmates out an outside door," said Lisa Marchesoni last week, the sheriff's public information officer.

Corcoran wonders how that happened.

"The negligence of the guard that just popped that door open. That makes no sense to me. I understand that we all can make a mistake but, that is a substantial mistake," said Corcoran.

She's not making excuses for her son who did chose to run. She's talked to him since his capture, but he's not told her how they escaped.

"He was mainly crying and telling me how sorry he was," said Corcoran. She said her son needs help. But he now faces more time in jail for an escape Corcoran feels should have been prevented.

The sheriff said at this stage there's no evidence the inmates had inside help escaping the jail, but the investigation remains open.

Halfacre and Baxter now face charges of aggravated assault of a first responder and felony escape.