Local Rancher Helps Police Capture Two Escaped Inmates

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Elden Wait, 78, held two escaped felons on his ranch until police arrived


Two escaped inmates returned to jail, after nearby citizens and law enforcement agencies worked together to apprehend the escapees.

On Wednesday, Mule Creek State Prison bunkmates, Patrick Raines, 21,Jonny Maciel, 37, did not report to work. Correctional Officers discovered the two had hopped the minimum security fence, and escaped on foot. Raines was servicing a six-year sentence for carjacking in San Diego County, while Maciel was serving a 15-year-4 month sentence for 2nd degree burglary in Placer County. Both men had parole scheduled in 2016.

Their mug shots were distributed to nearby areas, and a large-scale manhunt ensued. By Friday, Amador County residents heard of incidents involving two men who fit their descriptions, breaking into a nearby church.

On Saturday morning, the escapees were rearrested about ten miles from the jail, near the intersection of Highway 16 and Willow Creek Road. 78 year-old rancher, Elden Wait was instrumental in their recapture.

When he was tending to his sheep, a neighbor called him to say they saw two unfamiliar men trespassing on Wait’s property. He immediately got in his truck, spotted them, and waved his rifle at them. At that point, the inmates stopped moving, until officers apprehended them within minutes.

“I Just had pulled a rifle up, so that it was visible to them,” Elden Wait said. “As soon as they saw CDC, they sat down on the curb. So I stepped out with my firearm, and took cover for them.”

“There was no fight whatsoever,” Correctional Lt. Charles Weaver of the Mule Creek State Prison said. “As soon as officers got on grounds, they immediately surrendered over to custody with no issues.”

Throughout the day, several of Wait’s neighbors drove to his ranch to thank him for his bravery.

“Elden Wait, I cannot think of a better neighbor to have,” neighbor Gini Groza said. “That man is an absolute angel.”

When we asked for his reaction, the 78 year-old humbly replied, “No way… It’s all in a day out here in the country.”

Maciel and Raines have additionally been charged with escape without force. The cases have been turned over to the Amador County District Attorney’s Office.

According to the Department of Adult Institutions, of all inmates who escaped from an adult institution, camp, or community-based program since 1997, 99.1% have been apprehended.

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