US Marshals capture inmates who escaped from correctional center in Virginia


RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) – After nearly a two-week investigation, the two inmates who escaped Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center in Chesterfield County, Virginia were captured by U.S. Marshals on Saturday evening.

The U.S. Marshals’ Grand Rapids Fugitive Task Force apprehended Rashad Williams, 18, and Jabar Taylor, 20, without incident at a hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan — about 700 miles away from the scene of the escape.

During the escape on July 13, the Department of Juvenile Justice said the men used a cord to choke a security staff member, who briefly lost consciousness. They then took the staff member’s keys and escaped through a hole that had been cut in the security fence.

A getaway vehicle was staged outside of the detention center that the department said appeared to have been waiting for them.

Taylor was serving a sentence for convictions of two counts of second-degree murder and aggravated malicious assault. Williams was previously convicted of malicious wounding and robbery.

Both residents were going to be transferred to an adult Department of Corrections facility after their 21st birthdays. 

U.S. Marshals pursued numerous leads in several states as they tracked the two to Pennsylvania and then on to Michigan.

WRIC reported that since the escape, three people were arrested for aiding in the escapee’s disappearance:

  • Destiny L. Harris, 23, of Chesterfield County, was charged with two counts of aiding with the escape of a juvenile. Harris, a Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice employee who worked at the Bon Air facility, is being held at the Chesterfield County Jail.
  • Darren Briggs, 42, of Lawrenceville, was charged with one felony count of providing a cell phone to a prisoner. Briggs, who was also a Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice employee who worked at the Bon Air facility, is being held at the Chesterfield County Jail. 
  • Gerald Thornton, 33, of Philadelphia, Pa., was arrested on two counts of aiding with the escape of a juvenile. Thornton, a relative of Williams, was taken into custody without incident. 

“This complex investigation and arrest is yet another example of the tenacity and the ‘never give up’ attitude displayed by Deputy U.S. Marshals and our state and local law enforcement partners all over this great country,” said Nick E. Proffitt, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Virginia.

“Hours of dedicated investigative work by our law enforcement team ensured the safety of the public by getting these very dangerous escapees back into custody quickly and safely. I hope the efforts of these law enforcement professionals will in some way allow our citizens in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and elsewhere, to rest more comfortably tonight,” Proffitt continued.

According to officials, both Williams and Taylor will be held at the Calhoun County Jail in Battle Creek, Michigan.

“This evening’s apprehension of the escapees from the Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center is a result of the extensive investigative efforts and fortitude demonstrated by state and federal law enforcement,” said Captain Richard Boyd, commander of the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Richmond Field Office.

“The U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force members, which include Virginia State Police personnel, are to be commended for their exceptional and exhaustive work on this case.”

Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice Director Valerie Boykin released a statement on Sunday regarding the capture and plans moving forward with security at the Bon Air facility.

First and foremost, we wish to thank the Virginia State Police, the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI, the Michigan Law Enforcement agencies and all who were involved in the safe apprehension of the two individuals who escaped from the Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center last week. 

We also continue to cooperate fully with the Virginia State Police in their ongoing investigation in connection with this incident.  All of the dedicated professionals committed to the rehabilitation of the youth in our care at Bon Air join me in hoping that investigators will get to the bottom of this incident so that appropriate action may be taken.

I also have ordered a complete security analysis of the Bon Air campus in the wake of the escapes. Our DJJ investigators and Residential Services management team are conducting internal reviews, and I am bringing in an external team to conduct an independent analysis to augment our findings. We are committed to determine if more immediate security enhancements are needed at Bon Air. 

Bon Air is an old campus, and this incident highlights the need for a more modern state-of-the-art secure treatment facility.  Prior to this incident, we had not had an escape in over 20 years.  It is extremely important to us to continue to be a good neighbor to the Bon Air community as we fulfill our role in public safety. 

DJJ Director Valerie Boykin

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