Did inmate David Dean Stevens just walk away from custody or did he have a getaway car waiting nearby?
That’s one of many questions Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies are trying to answer in the wake of his escape from their Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center.
After FOX40 learned of the jail break from a tipster and not the Sheriff, we wanted the answer to another question – when was jail staff aware that he had taken off?
“That, I haven’t confirmed,” Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Sergeant Lisa Bowman during during an afternoon interview 13 hours post jail break.
Several hours later it was confirmed that jail staff did not know one of their inmates wasn’t where he was supposed to be.
They discovered it about the same time that the 29-year-old Stevens was picked up five hours later and about 36 miles away.
He should have been working a shift in the jail kitchen starting at 2 a.m.
People who live near the jail are stunned deputies didn’t know, which gave homeowners no hope of being notified.
It’s believed Stevens hopped the fence at the Rio Cosumnes facility, trying to ditch the sentence he was serving for auto theft.
His resulting injuries helped lead to his inadvertent capture by a deputy in the middle of another call on Watt Avenue in North Highlands.
“The patrol officer noticed that the subject was bleeding,” Bowman said.
Nestled in between crops at the southern tip of Elk Grove on Bruceville Road, the housing units of what is now a jail were built during World War II as barracks for the Army Air Corps.
Stevens was assigned to the honor side, where doors aren’t locked.
For safety reasons, the Sheriff’s Department won’t reveal exactly when inmate counts are done but six should be completed within a 24 hour period.
Right now investigators are trying to determine if a missed count literally left a door open for Stevens to disappear.