Police catch last of 13 boys who escaped from Tennessee detention center

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 28, 2014 3:25 PM

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE (Reuters) - The last of 13 boys who escaped Friday night from a troubled Tennessee youth detention facility was caught on Sunday by a police officer on routine patrol, police said.

The 16-year-old boy told police he had been hiding in a wooded area since escaping out the front gate of the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center in Nashville, according to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.

The other 12 boys were recaptured within several hours after they overpowered a guard and took his keys and radio, said the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, which operates the facility.

One of the boys managed to get inside a guard shack at the gate that was unoccupied while the guard conducted a check of the fence surrounding the facility, and he activated the gate to let the other boys out, said DCS spokesman Rob Johnson.

It was the second mass escape this month from the facility, which mostly houses juveniles with multiple felonies.

On Sept. 1, 32 youths escaped from the facility. Two have not be caught in that incident.

On Sept. 3, two dozen boys kicked their way through aluminum panels beneath exterior windows to escape the dormitories and create a large disturbance on the facility grounds.

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Some attacked guards with sticks and stones, and state and local police were called in to help quell the violence. None of the teens escaped, however.

The department has changed procedures and reinforced the buildings and the fences since those earlier incidents, Johnson said on Saturday.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and; Andrea Ricci)