Six inmates at the Cocke County Jail escaped custody after removing a toilet from its bearings and climbing through the hole in the floor, according to local reports. Two escapees have been captured.
Early on December 25, the six inmates exploited rusted bolts holding down a toilet of a county jail cell in downtown Newport, Tennessee, and escaped, according to the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office.
Two inmates, John Mark Speir and Steven Lewis, were captured that evening, the sheriff’s office said. Upon Speir’s arrest, Daniel Speir and Jarred Schoondermark were charged with harboring a fugitive in Cosby, Tennessee, according to reports.
The inmates still at-large are John Thomas Shehee, Harce Wade Allen, Eric S Click, and David Wayne Frazier.
“The inmates escaped after a water leak occurred behind a wall unit stainless steel toilet,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement reported by WVLT.
“Apparently the bolts holding the unit rusted out and there was prior damage to the concrete due to plumbing repairs. The inmates vandalized the lavatory removing it from the wall and gained access to a hole which led outside of the facility.”
Frazier, 54, is the only one of the at large inmates considered dangerous, the sheriff’s office said, adding that he was in custody for alleged aggravated robbery possession of a weapon by a convicted felon.
Newport is some 50 miles east of Knoxville, Tennessee, and less than 15 miles from the state border with North Carolina.