Escaped Inmate From Chino Prison Nabbed After One Day On The Lam

The inmate who escaped from the California Institution for Men in Chino on January 14 was apprehended some 100 miles away in San Diego County the following day.
Michael Garrett, 33, who was serving a four-year eight month sentence for vehicle theft when he managed to slip out of the minimum-to-maximum security facility, was taken into custody without incident at 6:05 p.m. Monday, January 15, by officers with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office based in Encinitas.
State prison officials said Garrett was present during a 4 p.m. inmate count on January 14 but was unaccounted for during a Sunday night count shortly after 9 p.m. An internal search of the prison was undertaken at once. More than four hours later, an alarm that is intended to alert nearby residents to an escaped convict was sounded, at sometime after 1:50 a.m., some of those nearby residents told the Sentinel. There was no explanation forthcoming from prison officials as to the reason for the delay.
There was some initial confusion about how Garrett had escaped, and local law enforcement officials at one point indicated he had taken a vehicle in making his getaway, and that he had been pursued by a law enforcement officer who lost his trail. Across the Orange County Line in Yorba Linda, more than two dozen law enforcement officers undertook an intensified search in that city on January 15 based on a belief that Garrett had fled there, reportedly be-
cause an electronic tracker on the car he had stolen gave indication of his presence within that area. Subsequently, authorities were unwilling to confirm that earlier report.
Garrett was serving a four year, eight month sentence for first-degree burglary, evading or attempting to evade a peace officer while driving recklessly, and vehicle theft pertaining to a case out of San Diego County. He checked into Chino Prison on October 30, 2017 and was scheduled for parole in October 2019.
Based on investigative leads, special agents from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Office of Correctional Safety Special Service Unit and Fugitive Apprehension Team tracked Garrett to a Vons grocery store at 453 Santa Fe Drive. The San Diego Sheriff’s Office responded to the location, where they observed Garrett standing in front of the store. He was taken into custody without incident and has been returned to the California Institution for Men in Chino.
A report on Garrett’s escape is now being compiled for forwarding to both the San Diego County and San Bernardino County district attorney’s office for consideration of escape charges.
Since 1977, according to the California Department of Corrections, 99 percent of all offenders who have left an adult institution, camp or community-based program without permission have been apprehended.
The most infamous escape from Chino Prison was that of Kevin Cooper on June 2, 1983. Cooper was subsequently caught and charged with and convicted of the murders of Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter Jessica and their son’s friend, Christopher Hughes, which had apparently occurred in the evening of June 4, 1983 at the Ryen residence in Chino Hills. The victims had been attached with a hatchet, sliced with a knife, and stabbed with an ice-pick. Josh Ryen, Douglas and Peggy Ryens’ 8-year-old son, survived the attack. Cooper, who has consistently maintained his innocence, is on death row at San Quentin Prison, while his attorneys persist with appeals of his conviction, all of which, to date, have been rejected.

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