Third Inmate Who Cut Through Missouri Jail Ceiling Is Back in Custody, Authorities Say

The last of three inmates who escaped from a Missouri jail after cutting through the ceiling was taken into custody Tuesday, authorities said.

Lance Justin Stephens was recaptured near San Antonio, Texas, the Barry County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. Stephens, along with Matthew Allen Crawford and Christopher Allen Blevins, escaped from the Barry County jail on June 3 by cutting holes in the ceiling and climbing through, authorities said. Barry County is about 660 miles from San Antonio.

Crawford was captured Monday in Springfield, Missouri—about 60 miles northeast of Barry County, according to the US Marshal’s Service and the Barry County Sheriff’s Office. Blevins was captured five days after the escape near Casper, Wyoming—more than 800 miles away from the jail, the Barry County Sheriff’s Office said.

Missouri inmates
Inmates Lance Justin Stephens (L), Matthew Allen Crawford (C), and Christopher Allen Blevins. (Barry County Sheriff’s Office)

Jail Has Plaster Ceilings, Detective Says

Crawford faces theft charges while Blevins faces charges including unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon, and resisting a lawful stop. Stephens faces charges including possession of a controlled substance and unlawful use of a weapon.

Two of the inmates were in the same jail pod while the third was in an adjacent pod, Barry County Sheriff’s Office Detective Doug Henry said.

He said after the trio cut holes in the ceiling and clambered through, they fled the building via a maintenance door. Henry said the building is old and the ceilings are made of plaster, which might have made the trio’s escape easier.

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