Erath County Sheriff Matt Coates says a structural problem in the chainlink enclosure that surrounds the jail’s recreation yard allowed inmate Josh Daniel to escape on June 9.
The problem, Coates said, was identified almost immediately and fixed on Monday.
Coates released more details about Daniel’s short-lived escape Monday afternoon after Commissioner Dee Stephens and his crew repaired the problem.
Coates said on the morning of the incident, Daniel’s girlfriend and the mother of his two children, Tiffany Cehand, visited Daniel in jail.
While their recorded conversation didn’t reveal much about an alleged plot, Coates said video of the visit shows that Daniel wrote something on a piece of paper and held it up to the glass for Cehand to read.
“We don’t know what it said but we assume it had to do with the escape,” Coates said.
A few hours later, Daniel was outside in the rec yard playing basketball with four other inmates when the ball got stuck on a ledge.
Daniel reportedly took off his socks and shoes, scaled the wall to release the ball, then ran on the ledge and climbed the chainlink fence using his hands and feet.
He then removed two chainlink clips from the fence, pulled it apart and slipped through.
Coates said none of the other inmates called for help after Daniel’s escape.
Three minutes and 52 seconds later, a jailer walked outside and realized Daniel was gone.
A Stephenville police K-9 unit tracked Daniel’s scent to Leland’s where investigators believe Cehand picked him up, Coates said.
The duo was arrested separately in Tarrant County a few hours later when Daniel was found hiding in a dog house in someone’s backyard. Cehand was taken into custody in a parking lot not far from where Daniel was located.
Coates said investigators believe that at least one of the inmates knew of Daniel’s plan to escape.
“We plan to seek facilitating an escape charge,” Coates said.
Daniel was brought back to the Erath County Jail last week while Cehand remains in Tarrant County facing other charges.
Coates said the Texas Commission on Jail Standards has completed its report and found no wrongdoing on the part of the sheriff’s office.
“It was a structural problem,” Coates said. “They approved our plan to fix it and that has been done.”