Convicted murderer used kitchen uniform to escape mid-Michigan prison, officials say
A 40-year-old prisoner who officials say used a white kitchen uniform to help him escape from the Ionia Correctional Facility in mid-Michigan Sunday remains on the lam today.
Michael David Elliot, who escaped by creating holes in fences, was discovered missing around 9:30 p.m. Sunday night, according to Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan.
He may have escaped a few hours earlier though, and officials believe he is no longer in Michigan.
“We learned that apparently he had maneuvered the fencing.” Marlan said. “And then crawled through a hole in the interior and exterior facility fences.”
Officials said during a news conference held this morning that Elliot was dressed in a white kitchen uniform when he escaped, which may have helped him evade security.
“He was not assigned to the kitchen,” Michigan Department of Corrections Director Daniel Heyns said. “He got a uniform and used that.”
Shortly after his escape, Elliot abducted a woman at a gas station in Ionia using a knife or box cutter. It’s unclear how he obtained the weapon. They then drove to Elkhart, Ind., about 100 miles southwest of Ionia.
“They stopped for fuel,” Marlan said. “She was able to escape and call 911 on her cell phone.”
The woman contacted police at about 11:50 p.m. The prisoner then left in her vehicle, a Jeep Liberty, and remains on the run today.
Elliot, a white man, 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, was serving a life sentence for four first-degree murder convictions that occurred in Gladwin County on August 8, 1993, and was also serving sentences for arson and armed robbery, Michigan Department of Corrections records show.
“We are collecting information and intelligence here at the facility, interviewing other prisoners, going through his phone calls, his mail, his visitor list, trying to develop any kinds of leads on where he might be going.”
Prison officials realized Elliot was missing during formal count last night around 9:30 p.m.
“It showed that one prisoner was missing,” he said. “We began our escaped protocol at that point.”
Authorities ask anyone who sees suspicious activity or sees Michael David Elliot to call 911.