Woman who encountered escaped inmate recounts frightening ordeal
Updated On: Jun 09 2014 04:34:15 AM CDT
Police say a Schuylkill County fugitive, who fled custody Friday afternoon, was caught early Saturday morning.
Authorities say Jessie Wolfe, 30, was captured in a field off River Road in Tilden Township, Berks County.
Around 3:45 p.m. Friday, Wolfe managed to free himself from custody while being transferred from the Schuylkill County Courthouse back to prison.
Melinda Davidson was sound asleep on her couch in her Pottsville on Friday when she said she was awakened to find a man she didn't recognize inside her living room.
The man was wearing a prison suit and had handcuffs on.
"He sat down next to me on the couch after closing the doors and he said, 'hey lady, I need you to help me,'" Davidson said.
Davidson said Wolfe repeatedly asked her for a ride, which she refused.
When her scanner went off, Davidson said Wolfe became even more panicked.
"He was jumpy. He couldn't sit still," Davidson said.
After catching sight of her car keys hanging on the wall, Davidson said Wolfe grabbed them and headed toward her van, a 2000 Oldsmobile.
Later in the day, police received a call about that van being in a mobile home community in Berks County.
Police believe Wolfe traveled to that community to find a friend to help him.
Residents tell 69 news that they had seen Wolfe at a neighbor's home prior to Friday.
According to police, Wolfe's jumpsuit was found in a mobile home in the Tilden Township community.
Police searched two mobile homes in the Pleasant View Trailer Park, including a vacant property.
During the search, police also found bolt scissors outside of a home, which they believe was used to cut off Wolfe's handcuffs.
Officials also said they believe that's where Wolfe was given a change of clothes.
Police could not locate Wolfe at the mobile home community, and said they soon learned that Wolfe may have hitched a ride elsewhere.
Around that time, police got a 911 call from the 100 block of River Road.
A man who lives on that road tells 69 News he called police after a man he didn't recognize came to his home and asked to use his phone.
After making several calls, the man said Wolfe repeatedly asked for a ride into town.
The man said Wolfe also offered to pay him. When the man refused, Wolfe allegedly took off running again.
Authorities searched in that area for several hours, and set up a perimeter near Pleasant View Trailer Park between River and Five Locks roads.
They were using K9s to help search the thick brush.
Police used infrared technology to locate Wolfe in the woods.
While approaching the "hot spot" around 1 a.m., police said Wolfe darted from a ditch and took off running.
Police were able to capture him moments later.
According to officials, Wolfe was also hiding in the Schuylkill River to avoid being detected by helicopters hovering above.
Wolfe has waived extradition and was transported back to Schuylkill County Prison.
Police said Wolfe will likely face additional charges.
It's possible others connected with the incident could also face charges.
Wolfe was in court to face several charges including drug possession, eluding an officer, and various traffic offenses.
The investigation is ongoing.
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