Over the weekend, two 17-year-old murder suspects broke out of a youth jail in Louisiana, police reported. This happened less than two weeks after one of them had previously escaped from the same facility earlier in November.
They got away late Saturday night from the East Baton Rouge Juvenile Detention Center. It’s still a mystery how they did it, but authorities are looking into it, as mentioned in a news release. Baton Rouge police and the U.S. Marshals Service are now on the hunt for them.
The Baton Rouge Police Department named the runaway teens as David Atkins and Willie Jackson, according to CBS affiliate WAFB-TV. Jackson was in jail on a first-degree murder charge from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, the news station said. Atkins, also held for first-degree murder by Baton Rouge police, had earlier escaped from the juvenile center on Nov. 13. The Advocate noted that Atkins and another inmate ran off while guards were handling a fight in the facility. They were caught after a search lasting over a day.
WAFB, citing the Baton Rouge Police Department, reported that Atkins and Jackson are seen as armed and dangerous, and people shouldn’t approach them. The authorities are asking anyone who knows where they are to call Capital Region Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867 or just dial 911.
Cpl. Saundra Watts, a Baton Rouge police spokesperson, told WAFB, “We want the public to be cautious as they may have changed their hairstyles. We are encouraging those that may see them that may know their whereabouts or may actually be out and about just witness these individuals out in the community to not hesitate to call 911 or Crime Stoppers.”
The East Baton Rouge juvenile center has faced a lot of flak for constant breakouts and violent incidents, as reported by several local sources like The Advocate and WAFB.
“If we do not get down to figure out a way to get this done, we’re going to continue to have more escapes that we ever have. Now we’re dealing with juveniles that are extremely violent. We’re talking about first degree murder, this is just unacceptable,” said Hillar Moore, the East Baton Rouge District Attorney, in a talk with WAFB on Sunday.
In 2021, five inmates broke out by attacking a staff member, grabbing her keys, and locking her in a cell without a radio. They even used homemade knives to attack other staff members. Then, in February 2022, a brawl with eight teens left three hurt.
East Baton Rouge Parish put aside $2 million for better security. After the breakout earlier in November, officials said they were still planning and designing these upgrades.