POLK COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - By Jena Johnson - email
POLK CO., TX (KTRE) - The Polk County Sheriff's Office shut down parameter check points late this afternoon in their search for escaped inmate. They say they haven't given up, but instead, are changing tactics.
Polk County sheriff's deputies used dogs provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to search for an inmate who escaped through an open back door of the jail shortly after midnight. Hot temperatures throughout the day did not allow the dogs to search for long.
Daniel Lee Falls, 26, was on work detail cleaning kitchen floors inside the county jail when he slipped past the deputy on duty and left the jail through an open back door. "He's subject to do anything," Chief Deputy Byron Lyons said. "Lock your doors and use extreme caution if you see Falls."
Investigators believe Falls has shed his orange jail jumpsuit and is now wearing black shorts, white tennis shoes and a dark colored T-shirt. He was spotted running into a wooded area east of the Polk County Sheriff's office. That's where deputies are now searching for the escaped county inmate.
Lyons said Falls took residents by surprise when he walked into a friend's house at the end of Mimosa Street and shed his boots. Mimosa Street is adjacent to the wooded area near Old Woodville Road. It is not clear where he changed out of his jumpsuit.
The friend, who did not want to be identified, said Falls knocked on her door at about 1 a.m. He said, "I love y'all, but I gotta go," before leaving his boots.
Falls was originally in jail on drug charges. He bonded out of jail, however, his bail company dropped him after he broke bond and he was rearrested. The escape occurred about 12:30 a.m.
At around 8:45 a.m., officers with the Department of Public Safety, sheriff's office and constable's office were searching a wooded area on Old Woodville Road, which is off of U.S. 190, and checking every vehicle that passed through there.
The sheriff's office made plans to call off the checkpoints at 5:30 p.m.
Before then, deputies questioned a man who said he was from the Indian Springs community, where Falls was also from. Unsatisfied with the man's answers about why he was passing through the area, they ran a check on him. The man then told them he had three outstanding warrants and deputies arrested him.
As a constable checked Pam Sprott's car, she said the news of the loose inmate leaves her nervous.
"That makes me feel very uneasy for myself and for my parents that live in this area," she said.
"Yeah, i'm concerned, but i'm not going to be staying in the house," Lester Oliver said.
"I'll be listening to radio and news stations to find out as much info as I can and be calling to check on my parents," Sprott said.
"We are doing all that we are able to do to bring him back into custody as soon as possible and ask that they just be cautious and aware of their surroundings," Lyons said.
Until then, residents stay on high alert.