On Monday, December 27 at 2:30 p.m., Sebastian County Sheriff Hobe Runion held a press conference regarding the recent escapes from the adult detention center.
Here is what we know about the escape and capture of Dustin Smith and Jeremiah Slavens:
Method of Escape: The two were able to force up a light in the shower of AA pod. They were able to create a hole in the ceiling which allowed them to enter the void between the ceiling and the roof. They used an electronic tablet which had not been turned in for their light source. They found an iron worker’s sleever bar in the ceiling that could have been there for decades. They were able to pry a joint in the roof with the bar and access the roof. Once on the roof, they used a water hose they found to rappel down the north-side of the building. They had made a rope of bedsheets but left it behind.
Timeline: Around midnight on 12-24-21 they were seen on camera running from the north-side of the Detention Center. At around 2:00 pm on 12-24-21 detention personnel discovered the two were missing. At around 6:00 pm on 12-24-21, the Sheriff and his administration were notified. A press release was put out soon thereafter and several tips were received. Slavens was arrested off of Grand Avenue in Fort Smith at around 11:30 pm on 12-24-21. Investigators worked through the night following leads on the whereabouts of Smith. This work led to information being developed on Smith’s location. This information led investigators to the Fort Coffee area. In Fort Coffee deputies found a vehicle which was reported stolen from Roland, Oklahoma from the previous night. A subsequent consensual search of a residence gave confirmation Smith was in the area. Another tip called in gave a better location and Smith was arrested after a foot search on a farm off Highway 9A between Fort Coffee and Arkoma. He was found hiding in some bushes on the property and captured shortly after 1:00 pm on Christmas Day.
Causation: Procedures and policies were not followed as to shift headcounts and pod inspections. Timely notifications were not made.