Juvenile detention center director details escape - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Juvenile detention center director details escape to commissioners

Posted: Updated:
GENESEE COUNTY (WJRT) -

(07/11/12) - There are new details Wednesday about how a Flint teenager, charged with murder, was able to escape from custody last month.

Mark Jones, 16, was out for nearly one week before being arrested again in Flint.

He is now in the Genesee County Jail, not back at the county's juvenile detention center.

When Jones escaped, walked away handcuffed and shackled at the feet, he was in the care of staff from the county's juvenile detention center.

Jones had been at the Genesee Valley Regional Center, or GVRC, since being charged in November 2010. Jones is awaiting trial in the November 2010 murder of 73-year-old Merlyne Wray in Flint. He also faces additional charges tied to his escape.

At the request of Genesee County Commissioners, GVRC Director Fred Woelmer explained how Jones was able to escape two transporters, GVRC staff, with him at a therapy session, in Flint, June 15.

Jones was arrested, after a massive manhunt by the Michigan State Police fugitive team and Flint Police, June 21.

Jones had been in therapy, on a set schedule, the entire time he's been in custody, according to Woelmer.

That's nearly two years.

Jones' mother and therapist had privacy concerns, Woelmer says, in the months before his escape.

"At this particular appointment site, there's been concern about the confidentiality of the meeting of the youth with their therapist," Woelmer says.

Woelmer says, at the site, New Passages, the guard was asked to sit outside the room previously and on June 15 was asked to move away from the wall.

He did, against GVRC rules, and lost sight of Jones.

"(The) therapist took him to the bathroom, went back to her office and about 3-4-5 minutes later, came out and said, 'Mark's gone,'" Woelmer says.

The GVRC employee was demoted last week and is no longer transporting teens.

Woelmer says staff has since been re-trained on what he calls "solid" procedures already in place.

Wednesday, Woelmer also talked about a proposal to put the transport of juvenile offenders, like Jones, back to the Genesee County Sheriff's Department.

He explained a new rule all lock ups and jails will have to follow soon or risk losing grant money.

The U.S. Department of Justice is restricting placing anyone 18 and under with adult inmates.

In Genesee County, those youthful offenders, in the 17 - 18 age group, are held at the county jail. There are about 40-50 of them.

Woelmer says GVRC could provide housing for that group, at least in the interim.

"We have a plan. It will require two additional staff members. Those staff members would be assigned to GVRC," says Undersheriff Chris Swanson.

The plan would take care of safety concerns when transporting teenagers charged like Jones, as adults, and federal mandates.

"By having that extra population in our facility, that are in adult court, then we'd go back with the sheriff doing transporting," Woelmer says.

"But we still have to be realistic and make sure we're within the budget," says Omar Sims.

The proposal still needs to be funded.

There's another committee meeting next week to talk about if that is possible.

Those two additional deputies would cost about $130,000/year, Swanson says.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Teen involved in shooting outside Bay County Juvenile Center had troubled past

    Teen involved in shooting outside Bay County Juvenile Center had troubled past

    Friday, August 29 2014 6:20 PM EDT2014-08-29 22:20:06 GMT
    We are learning new details about the teenager who was involved in Thursday's shooting outside a Bay County juvenile home.
    We are learning new details about the teenager who was involved in Thursday's shooting outside a Bay County juvenile home.
  • Mid-Michigan firefighters fill the boot for MDA

    Mid-Michigan firefighters fill the boot for MDA

    Sunday, August 31 2014 11:56 PM EDT2014-09-01 03:56:23 GMT
    (08/31/14) - Mid-Michigan firefighters were doing their part to help kids in need Labor Day weekend. The Saginaw Township Fire Department was one of many who took time out of their holiday weekend - to raise money for MDA."It means a lot to the guys, our department has a long history of doing this, i think this is our 35th to 40th year that we've been supporting muscular dystrophy, so it's a tradition. We give up a little bit of our holiday time to help out local families in need, it's defini...
    (08/31/14) - Mid-Michigan firefighters were doing their part to help kids in need Labor Day weekend. The Saginaw Township Fire Department was one of many who took time out of their holiday weekend - to raise money for MDA."It means a lot to the guys, our department has a long history of doing this, i think this is our 35th to 40th year that we've been supporting muscular dystrophy, so it's a tradition. We give up a little bit of our holiday time to help out local families in need, it's defini...
  • Man shot and killed, woman stabbed in Birch Run Township incident

    Man shot and killed, woman stabbed in Birch Run Township incident

    Sunday, August 31 2014 11:49 PM EDT2014-09-01 03:49:34 GMT
    (08/31/14) - A 57-year-old man was killed during a domestic dispute.The Michigan State Police say troopers and other emergency responders were called to a home in the 1300 block of Willard Road in Birch Run Township.The call came in around 11:55 p.m. for a domestic violence and felonious assault that was happening.When troopers arrived they found a 63-year-old woman with stab wounds, and the 57-year-old man dead.The woman was taken to Hurley Medical Center for for treatment.An autopsy is sche...
    (08/31/14) - A 57-year-old man was killed during a domestic dispute.The Michigan State Police say troopers and other emergency responders were called to a home in the 1300 block of Willard Road in Birch Run Township.The call came in around 11:55 p.m. for a domestic violence and felonious assault that was happening.When troopers arrived they found a 63-year-old woman with stab wounds, and the 57-year-old man dead.The woman was taken to Hurley Medical Center for for treatment.An autopsy is sche...
Powered by WorldNow

abc12.com

ABC12 Main Station
810-233-3130

Mailing Address:
2302 Lapeer Road
Flint, Michigan 48503

Powered by 

WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WJRT. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.