Indian River County jailbreak, the never before seen evidence

Lead detective unseal evidence for the first time

It was a near perfect getaway.

"The creativeness that these guys used to get out of there, I wouldn't have thought of it," explains Sgt. Milo Thornton of the Indian River County Sheriff's Office.

Thornton is talking about what happened the night of October 24, 2011.

Detectives now know, at least one week before that midnight hour, cellmates 25-year-old Leviticus Taylor and 52-year-old Rondell Reed had plotted, prepped and perfected their getaway.

"They put themselves on a diet so they could fit and at one point Reed told us he got stuck," Thornton explains while talking about the escape that made national headlines.

RELATED STORY Missed Signs: 2011 escape from IRC Jail   Mobile link:

For the first time since the convicts capture, Thornton and Detective Steven Stoll unseal never before seen evidence from the jailbreak.

Among the evidence being made public for the first time, a blueprint that investigators believe was drawn by Taylor showing where the jail was relative to the neighborhood.

"This is basically a layout of the jail drawn by one of the two escapees," said Stoll.

From a map to a mop, the criminal duo was crafty and meticulous.

Thornton showed the Contact 5 Investigators a metal piece from a jail mop that the he sharpened on the concrete.

"He used this sharp piece to just wheel out the screws," explains Thornton.  The metal was used as a screwdriver to get through the vents.

25-year-old Taylor also used his own dreadlocks to help make it appear as if he was sleeping in his bunk.  Rubbermaid covers from their storage units were tied around books and papers to make it appear as a torso under their bunk blankets.

Then, there's the infamous hacksaw blade.  Detectives say Reed used the blade to saw his way through the steel bars that guarded the vents.    

"It would have been impossible to get out without those blades."  Investigators wouldn't say how the inmates got access to the hacksaw blade, but it had reportedly been hidden in a book in the jail library.  Investigators have previously explained that the blade might have been smuggled in by workers doing contract work at the jail.

As for the actual escape, Reed had the brains, investigators say.

Taylor had the will, knowledge of the area and how to get away.

"You help me get out, I help you get out of town.  That was pretty much the agreement, there was no friendship," said Thornton.

The actual escape lasted less than 30 minutes, detectives say.

"Shawshank was very Hollywood compared to this.  This was no digging thru tunnels and dropping it out of your pants left in the rec yard.  These guys actually went through some desperate measures to get out," explained Thornton.

Freedom wouldn't last.  Both escapees were captured and both are now serving life sentences in state prisons.

Since the 2011 escape, two dozen security enhancements have been implemented at the jail.  The most recent changes include the installation of a whole body scanner for inmates, new lighting outside the jail and high security gates surrounding the perimeter of the jail.


Print this article Back to Top