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Hutchinson work-release escapee captured in Wichita

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, June 12, 2014, at 8:05 p.m.

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A prisoner who walked away from work release at an egg-processing plant Saturday has been found in Wichita, Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman Jeremy Barclay said.

Corrections special agents and the U.S. Marshals Office apprehended Christopher M. Ward, 43, without incident Thursday evening, Barclay said.

He did not give specifics on where in Wichita or how Ward was captured. He said he expected further details would be released Friday morning.

KDOC officials discovered Ward missing from Cal-Maine, a plant in Chase, between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Saturday after he did not report to be picked up with 30 other inmates working the daytime shift at the plant.

Authorities have been on a manhunt since, thinking Ward may have traveled to Wichita, where he is from.

Barclay said Thursday evening that Ward will be transported back to Hutchinson Correctional Facility, where he is serving time on a string of Sedgwick County crimes, including burglary and felony theft.

He had been on work release for about two years when he left Cal-Maine and had less than two years left on his sentence.

“His work-release privileges are revoked,” Barclay said.

“We’ll figure out what type of internal sanctions will go with this” escape and also present the case to prosecutors, who will decide whether to file additional criminal charges, he said.

Barclay said most escapees are found within three days after leaving a facility. Ward was missing “a little longer than average,” he said.

Thirteen inmates have taken unauthorized leave from non-secure facilities, such as work release sites, in the past year, he said. He could not recall any escapes from secure facilities – prisons – in the same time period.

Reach Amy Renee Leiker at 316-268-6644 or aleiker@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amyreneeleiker.

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