MIAMI – The search for Ottawa County Jail escapee Jerry Nichols continues, according to Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd.
“We followed up some leads pretty late Friday night in the Peoria and Quapaw area, talking to people that are known friends or people that he associates with, but did not come across him,” Floyd said Sunday afternoon.
Walker and Justin Eby got away from the Ottawa County Jail around 6 a.m. Thursday morning because of a malfunctioning lock system.
Eby was captured around midday thanks to the efforts of Integris Miami Hospital security guard Felipe Alaniz and maintenance tech Kyle Long.
However, Walker was able to elude authorities.
“Being from Missouri, we don’t know if he’s already made it back to Missouri or if he’s still around here. We don’t know yet, but we’re still actively following up leads and looking into everything.
“He will show up sooner or later.”
Floyd said a third inmate that was somewhat involved with them that was in the same pod faked a medical seizure.
Floyd said because of budgetary issues, there were only two deputies on duty at the time and one was pushed and overpowered.
“They got out of the pod area and took off down the hall. The main detention deputy didn’t give chase because there was no place for them to go, because once you get down to the hall, you can go left or right, but it’s secure,” Floyd said. “There are doors on each side, but when they hit the one door that was closed, it opened up. We’ve been having glitching in our locking systems.
“It opened up and of course, they took off. That’s when the deputy gave chase because he didn’t realize the door was not locked.”
Floyd said Johnson Controls, which handles much of the security equipment at the jail, made patchwork repairs Friday.
Multiple law enforcement agencies with as many as 75 officers who are part of the Tri-State Case Squad assisted with the early search.
Social media was used to get information out about the escape and that helped with the apprehension of Eby.
Floyd said Eby has had a long history of charges, including the current one for assault and battery with intent to kill on a police officer.
Walker reportedly was being held on a probation violation.
Miami Public Schools superintendent Jeremy Hogan said all schools in the district switched to virtual-only instruction “to better ensure the safety of our staff, students and families.”
Miami High School’s softball playoff games against Mannford here Thursday afternoon were postponed until Friday due to safety concerns.
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College implemented a lockdown and all classes for the day were cancelled.
Call 911 or 918-533-1243 if Nichols is spotted.