Escaped prisoner leads to five-hour manhunt

A prison inmate escaped custody and led authorities on a five-hour manhunt Saturday in Lake City. 

According to a Lake City Police Department (LCPD) press release, 34-year-old Stadius Brown—who had recently been placed in the work release program—removed his ankle monitor and fled from the Lake City Work Release Center around 3:30 a.m. 

LCPD officers and Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) blood hound units from Suwannee and Baker counties began the search that would last for several hours. Law enforcement eventually tracked Brown to an area near NW Main Boulevard and NW Waldo Street, where a K9 narrowed down the search area further.

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“LCPD and FDC units, assisted by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office [CCSO], began conducting an exhaustive search of the area, and eventually located Brown hiding in a camper parked behind a business, which he had broken into,” LCPD reported. 

Stadius Brown

Officers took Brown into custody about 8:45 a.m. 

“This search was a significant effort that would not have been possible without the support of the bloodhound units from Suwannee and Baker Correctional Institutes, as well as CCSO,” LCPD Chief Gerald Butler said in a statement. “Ultimately, the escapee was found by LCPD Officers being thorough in their efforts.”

According to LCPD, state authorities are investigating the circumstances that led to Brown’s escape. Brown was transported to the Columbia County Jail, where he’s being held without bond. He faces new charges of escaping confinement, burglary, criminal mischief and resisting arrest. 

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