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A Christmas Day jailbreak saw six men escape a Tennessee jail through a hole behind a damaged toilet and four of those men remain on the run as of Monday morning.
Authorities said the escape was made possible by some leaking and rusty pipes behind a steel toilet in the Cocke County Jail Annex.
Around 1:30 a.m., the six inmates removed the toilet and then climbed through the hole left in the wall, authorities said.
"Apparently the bolts holding the unit rusted out and there was prior damage to the concrete due to plumbing repairs,” the sheriff told WVLT. "The inmates vandalized the lavatory removing it from the wall and gained access to a hole which led outside of the facility."
Two of the inmates, John Mark Speir and Steven Edward Lewis, were captured separately hours after the escape.
Speir was captured Sunday "at a residence in the Cosby community," according to police. Lewis was captured after a foot chase by officers in Cocke County.
Two men have been charged with harboring a fugitive in connection with Speir's capture.
Cocke County officials said in a release that the four fugitives still on the run are John Thomas Shehee, 28, Harce Wade Allen, 28, Eric S Click, 29, and David Wayne Frazier, 54.
Down the drain: Inmates escape Tennessee jail through broken toilet
|John Mark Speir (l.) was found inside a home that was near the jail and Steven Lewis (r.) was nabbed after a foot chase with cops. (Cocke County Sheriff's Department)|
The manhunt is on for two escapees who fled a Tennessee jail through a leaky toilet, as police captured four other men who got a few moments of freedom.
Officials for the Cocke County Sheriff’s office said six inmates originally made their getaway early Christmas morning, according to KOMO news. They added that the breakout was prompted by a water leak that was behind a jail toilet.
“The bolts holding the unit rusted out and there was prior damage to the concrete due to plumbing repairs,” police told ABC News.
Earlier repairs to plumbing lead to a weakening of the concrete used to encase the wall unit toilet and also caused the bolts holding the unit in place to become rusted out, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.
The inmates managed to remove the toilet from the wall and crawled through a hole in that wall leading them outside the country jail facility.
Two of the inmates have already been apprehended.
Steven Lewis, 37, was nabbed after a foot chase with cops and John Mark Speir, 38, was found inside a home that was near the jail. According to the Sheriff’s office, two men were charged with allegedly assisting Speir. Jarred Schoondermarks, 30, and Daniel Speir, 29, were charged with harboring a fugitive.
Investigators spotted Harce Wade Allen, 28, and Eric S. Click, 29, later Monday, and took them into custody.
Still on the loose are John Thomas Shehee, 28, and David Wayne Frazier, 54.
Frazier is considered to be the most dangerous according to WATE 6. He was in custody for aggrivated robbery and possession of a weapon.
Shehee was facing charges for arson and criminal trespassing as well property theft. Allen had violated probation and was in the midst of covering a 45-day sentence. Click was being held on charges of evading arrest and a series of probation violations.
Anyone with information leading to the whereabouts of the remaining two alleged escapees is urged to call the sheriff's office at 423-623-2064 or the jail at 423-623-6023.
East Tenn. Inmates Escape Through Hole Behind Toilet
COCKE COUNTY, Tenn. - Six inmates in east Tennessee were able to escape on Christmas Day through a hole behind a toilet.
According to CBS Knoxville affiliate WVLT, John Mark Speir, Steven Lewis, John Thomas Shehee, Harce Wade Allen, Eric S Click, and David Wayne Frazier broke out of the Cocke County Jail Annex during the early morning hours of Sunday.
"The inmates escaped after a water leak occurred behind a wall unit stainless steel toilet. 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," the sheriff told WVLT.
Speir was later caught at a home in Cosby, while Lewis was captured after a foot chase in the Carson Springs Community.
Shehee, Allen, Click, and Frazier have not yet been captured.