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Idaho Prison Break: Escapee and Accomplice Captured After Shootout, Two Deaths Linked

Escaped Idaho inmate and suspected accomplice captured after manhunt

The saga surrounding the escape of an inmate from an Idaho prison, his alleged accomplice who engaged in a shootout with corrections officers in Boise, and the ensuing manhunt reached a resolution Thursday as authorities apprehended the suspects. Concurrently, officials disclosed ongoing investigations into two additional deaths possibly linked to the fugitives.

Skylar Meade and Nicholas Umphenour were captured in Twin Falls, Idaho, approximately around 2 p.m. on Thursday after a brief car chase, Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar confirmed. Notably, the arrests occurred without gunfire or significant use of force.

A third individual, Tonia Huber, was also taken into custody in connection with the case, as announced by the Twin Falls Sheriff’s Office. Huber faces charges of eluding authorities, a felony, and possession of a controlled substance. Specifics regarding her alleged involvement were not immediately disclosed.

The Idaho State Police are currently probing two homicides in distinct locations—Nez Perce County and Clearwater County—potentially linked to the prison break and subsequent manhunt, according to Lieutenant Colonel Sheldon Kelley. These incidents, both transpiring within the preceding 24 hours, are under intense scrutiny.

Escapee and Accomplice Captured After Shootout, Two Deaths Linked

Idaho Prison Break: Escapee and Accomplice Captured After Shootout, Two Deaths Linked (Credits: Yahoo)

Handcuffs believed to have been utilized by Meade during his escape were discovered at one of the homicide scenes, authorities revealed. Additionally, the suspects abandoned the initial getaway vehicle, a Honda Accord, in northern Idaho before reportedly commandeering another car belonging to one of the homicide victims.

Although the suspects were found with the victim’s vehicle, law enforcement lacks precise details regarding the acquisition of the car. The homicide investigation continues, with the coroner’s office tasked with identifying the victims—both adult males—and determining the causes of death.

According to authorities, Meade and Umphenour, both affiliated with a white supremacist gang, meticulously planned the brazen assault targeting corrections officers to facilitate Meade’s escape from custody. Josh Tewalt, director of the Corrections Department, emphasized the premeditated nature of the incident and the exhaustive efforts invested in understanding its orchestration.

Skylar Meade, aged 31, is serving a 20-year sentence for assaulting a sheriff’s sergeant during a high-speed pursuit. The events unfolded around 2:15 a.m. on Wednesday when Corrections Department officers endeavored to transfer Meade back to the correctional facility following medical treatment at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.

Meade had exhibited self-harming behavior necessitating hospitalization the previous night while incarcerated in a maximum-security facility. Despite enhanced security measures due to Meade’s criminal history, Umphenour fired upon the officers during the transfer, injuring two of them—one sustaining non-life-threatening wounds while the other remained in critical condition.

Escapee and Accomplice Captured After Shootout, Two Deaths Linked

Escapee and Accomplice Captured After Shootout, Two Deaths Linked (Credits: The Guardian)

Following the altercation, the fugitives fled, prompting an extensive manhunt lasting into Thursday afternoon. Tewalt asserted that security protocols during Meade’s transfer adhered to departmental guidelines, emphasizing Meade’s confinement in administrative segregation at the time.

Responding to reports of an active shooter at the hospital, Boise officers encountered an armed individual, later identified as a Corrections Department officer, at the entrance. Despite sustaining non-life-threatening injuries, the officer discharged their weapon as a precautionary measure.

Tewalt provided updates on the injured officers’ conditions, stating that one was discharged Wednesday night while the other two remain hospitalized but are in stable and improving states. Investigations into the incident’s motives are ongoing.

Both Meade and Umphenour are affiliated with the Aryan Knights, a monitored security threat group within the prison system. While their gang involvement is noted, Tewalt clarified that the event’s nature doesn’t inherently imply gang sanctioning.

The Aryan Knights, established in the mid-1990s within the Idaho prison system, espouse white supremacist and separatist ideologies. As of 2021, the group reportedly comprised over 100 members, both incarcerated and at large, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

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