Inmate back in custody following Monday escape


TAYLOR COUNTY—Officials were able to apprehend a man who escaped police custody on Monday afternoon.

At approximately 12:45 p.m., officers were alerted to an escape occurring at the Taylor County Courthouse. 

According to officials, 59-year-old Donald Lee Taylor was brought to the courthouse to undergo arraignment on a felony escape charge and had escaped police custody.

It was reported by Taylor County Sheriff Terry Austin that Taylor was able evade officials after courthouse security removed his leg shackles.

The search began for Taylor, who was reportedly still secured with handcuffs and was wearing his Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation issued orange clothing. 

Officers from the Grafton Police Department, Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Taylor County Sheriff’s Department, and the U.S. Marshal’s Office began conducting searches in the downtown area.

The law enforcement officials combed the area for over 12-hours, working to narrow down the area where Taylor was believed to have been hiding out.

While scouring neighborhoods, officers took to the street on foot, taking time to knock on doors to speak with residents, providing information about the escape as well as a description of Taylor and what to do if he was spotted.

While evading capture, Taylor allegedly hid out in an outbuilding until sometime after midnight, and then continued to dodge officers, but was ultimately captured shortly after 1:00 a.m., with the help of a Division of Corrections K-9 unit.

“Taylor was finally apprehended on Washington Street, after one of the dogs locked on to him,” Taylor County Prosecuting Attorney John Bord revealed. “In fact, Taylor was actually bitten by the dog.” 

Taylor was taken into custody and transported to the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.

“The Division of Corrections contacted me, and they are revoking his parole again and sending him to Mount Olive,” Bord disclosed. “And I will be indicting him again on another felony escape charge during the September term of Grand Jury.”

Taylor was originally on parole following a 1989 conviction of first-degree murder in Monongalia County, as well as on a grand larceny charge out of Taylor County, according to Prosecuting Attorney John Bord.

“His most recent parole took effect in April 2019,” he explained. “He was paroled to a Shinnston address, although it is still inside of Taylor County. On March 22, the parole board could not locate him, and he was arrested on a drug charge in Putnam County.”

The suspect had been arrested for the parole violation and jailed and was being taken before the judge to face arraignment on the charge stemming from the March escape. He is now facing additional charges.

Thanks to the hard work and long hours that the officers put in, residents were able to breathe a sigh of relief at the news of Taylor’s capture, once more. In fact, the actions of those involved in the manhunt garnered the attention of Governor Jim Justice.

During his briefing Tuesday, Gov. Justice took time out of his remarks about COVID-19 to commend them for quickly locating and capturing Taylor.

“They immediately did what we do: run to the fire,” Gov. Justice said. “They launched an all-out search. At about 1:00 in the morning, one of our canine units tracked down and captured the inmate. This was great work by all involved in the search."

“Our corrections officers and our law enforcement officers do phenomenal work every single day, and it makes me sick when people throw stones or say bad things about these absolute heroes,” Gov. Justice continued. “They should be appreciated more. They should be loved by everybody, because they do fabulous work protecting us.”

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