8 teen escapees from Tenn. detention center still on lam

8 teen escapees from Tenn. detention center still on lam

8 teen escapees from Tenn. detention center still on lam

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by Adam Tamburin, The Tennessean/USA TODAY

WHAS11.com

Posted on September 2, 2014 at 6:06 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (USA TODAY) — Eight teenagers who escaped from a Nashville detention center remain at large Tuesday as a massive police manhunt resulted in the capture of 22 others.

Thirty teens escaped from the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center in Bordeaux around 11 p.m. Monday, right after the 10:30 shift change. Eight teens were still at large Tuesday, according to Rob Johnson, spokesman for the Department of Children's Services.

Earlier reports from DCS indicated that 32 had escaped. Police spokesman Don Aaron corrected the number Tuesday morning.

The escapees are all boys between 14 and 18 years old who were brought to Nashville from across the state. Johnson said a total of 78 teens were being held at the center at the time.

"Most of the kids have at least three felonies," he said.

The teens left their rooms and went into a common area, where they overwhelmed 16 to 18 staff members, Johnson said.

The group then kicked out a metal panel under a window to get out of the building and into a yard, Johnson said. He said the teens were running in the yard for a few minutes, and then they realized they could lift part of the chain-link fence and crawl out.

The fence is buried 8 inches deep into the ground, but the teens managed to pull up a weak portion and get out underneath, Johnson said. Once staff members saw some of the group escaping, they called the police, he said.

Two teens were captured immediately and others were found overnight, Johnson said.

Police apprehended some of the escaped youths in the Nashville area while family members brought others back to surrender to authorities.

The escape wasn't reported to police until 12:39 a.m., or about 90 minutes after it occurred, Aaron said.

"The escaped persons had a pretty good lead time on us," Aaron said in a news conference Tuesday morning. "Anytime a crime is committed or an escape occurs, the quicker the notification to law enforcement, the quicker resources can be deployed to minimize the situation."

Metro police are working with DCS and the Tennessee Highway Patrol to find the youths.

On the western edge of the facility, the spot where the teens escaped, the closest neighbors are a frozen pizza plant and a liquor distributor. Officials said the fence has been fixed.

In May, six or seven teens at Woodland Hills broke out of their rooms and into the courtyard. In that case, staffers and caseworkers persuaded the teens to return inside.

In 2013, nine teenage girls escaped from the G4S Academy for Young Women in Donelson.

Contributing: The Associated Press
 

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