An intense multi-agency manhunt is underway after five inmates — including three sex offenders — broke out of a Missouri jail through the plumbing system and fled in a stolen car earlier this week, officials said.
The brazen escape involving four men and one transgender woman took place around 7 p.m. Tuesday at the St. Francois County Detention Center in Farmington. Their absence was discovered three hours later during the evening head count.
The St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement that the fugitives — identified as Lujuan Tucker, Kelly McSean, Aaron Sebastian, Dakota Pace and Michael Wilkins — forced their way into a “secured cell.”
The inmates made their way up to the roof by crawling through the jail’s vents and plumbing pipes and eventually descended to the ground, NBC News reported.
Minutes later, the escapees were spotted on surveillance video stealing a dark gray 2009 Toyota Scion TC from a parking lot at the Centene Center at the Farmington Industrial Park, according to officials.
The car with temporary Missouri license plates was last seen traveling south.
The sheriff’s department said the inmates were seen removing their jail-issued orange jumpsuits and wearing white thermal leggings, white boxer or basketball shorts and white T-shirts. One of the men was wearing a black shirt.
The sheriff’s department on Wednesday enlisted the help of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the United States Marshals Service to track down the suspects who were described in bulletins as “dangerous” and “a flight risk.”
The US Marshals Service is offering rewards totaling up to $20,000 for information leading to the capture of all five fugitives.
The five jailed suspects were being held on felony charges. Three of the inmates — Tucker, Sebastian and McSean — are known sex offenders
Tucker, 37, of Farmington, was being held on assault and sodomy charges. His criminal history includes a 2003 conviction for statutory rape of a 12-year-old girl in St. Louis, reported the St. Louis Dispatch.
McSean, 52, of Holt Summit, who also goes by Larry Bemboom and identifies as a woman, was being held sexual assault charges. Her rap sheet includes a conviction for sexually assaulting a woman in 2003.
Sebastian, 30, of Farmington, was being held on statutory sodomy charges involving an 8-year-old and 9-year-old girl. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to attempted statutory sodomy of a 7-year-old girl.
Pace, 26, of Park Hills, was being held on multiple charges including resisting arrest, stealing, and tampering with a motor vehicle.
Wilkins, 40, of Festus, was being held on a burglary charge and probation violation.
Rewards of $5,000 each are being offered for McSean, Sebastian and Tucker. Tips leading to Pace and Wilkins will be rewarded with $2,500 each.
Anyone who knows the location of the inmates is asked to contact the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department at (573) 756-3252, St. Francois County Joint Communications at (573) 431-3131, or call local law enforcement.