(02/03/14) - Police say a convicted killer who made a brazen escape from the Ionia Correctional Facility has been captured in Indiana.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Ron Galaviz says 40-year-old Michael David Elliot was captured Monday evening in LaPorte County, Indiana.
He was arraigned Tuesday in Indiana on auto theft charges. Michigan police have 30 days to file an extradition warrant to bring him back to the state.
Earlier Monday, there was a nationwide manhunt for Elliot, who has ties to Mid-Michigan.
The Department of Corrections says Elliott escaped from the Ionia Correctional Facility on Sunday night.
The small SUV he was using was found in a parking lot in Northern Indiana early Monday afternoon. Schools nearby, in Shipshewana, were locked down.
Police say he used a box cutter or knife to carjack and abduct a woman nearby. She was able to escape when they stopped for gas in Indiana, just outside of Michigan.
Ionia is in between Lansing and Grand Rapids. The prison where Elliot was sits about two miles out of town.
Surveillance pictures released late Monday morning showed Elliot at an Elkhart, Indiana gas station, where the woman he carjacked and abducted was able to escape and call 911. That was just before midnight and some 100 miles away from the Ionia facility Elliot escaped.
Prison officials believe he somehow got hold of a white kitchen uniform he could have used to blend in and evade guards there, then likely created, or at least slipped through, holes in fences and fled.
Elliot was discovered missing during an inmate count around 9:30 Sunday night, but could have escaped hours earlier.
Authorities said they were going through Elliot's calls, mail and visitor lists trying to develop leads. They were also talking to other prisoners, though they believe he did act alone.
"We're reviewing every piece of the security of this institution and will for some time. That analysis takes some time. We're pretty clear we know his route of escape and the vulnerabilities and we've already made some changes to the fencing," Daniel Heyns, MDOC director, said Monday.
Focusing in on Elliot's Mid-Michigan connections, he was serving four life sentences for the 1993 murders of four people in Gladwin County. Elliot was living in Saginaw Township at the time of the crimes.
Elliot's escape was the topic of conversation for many in Ionia.
Harold McLeod lives less than a mile away from the prison.
"That's supposed to maximum security," he said. "They're serious criminals there."
Danielle Fischer and her two children are even closer.
"Darn near in my backyard," she said. "(Fischer's son) didn't go to school today because we were up until two o'clock in the morning with helicopters going around and them shining our backyard and the field."
Diners were also discussing Elliot's escape inside the Blue Water café, praising the woman who escaped from him.
Michigan State Police established a tip line for the public to call in tips related to the incident at 616-527-5616.
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