FARMINGTON — Five inmates were still at large Wednesday after escaping from the St. Francois County Detention Center on Tuesday evening, authorities said.
The group broke out of jail around 7 p.m. by crawling through a hole behind a sink in a cell, making their way to a closet on the roof, and busting out the closet door to the outside, according to court records.
They were discovered missing during the 10 p.m. inmate count, the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department said.
The jail’s cameras that would have captured them leaving were down because of construction, authorities said.
Police said after leaving the jail the group traveled just over a mile within 15 minutes, and stole a grey 2009 Scion TC with Missouri temporary tags from a secured lot at a Centene Corp. office on Air Park Drive in the Farmington Industrial Park.
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Surveillance footage showed all five left the area in the car driving south, police said. They ditched their orange jail clothing and were seen in the video wearing white thermal leggings, shorts and T-shirts.
The sheriff’s department issued felony warrants for each escapee and a “nationwide broadcast” on the escape. The charge, escape from confinement, carries a sentence of up to four years in prison.
On Wednesday just before 5 p.m., the sheriff’s office said the Missouri Highway Patrol and the United States Marshals Service were searching for the five and offered cash rewards for information on their whereabouts.
All were in custody on felony charges, police said. Three of them — LuJuan Tucker, Aaron Sebastian and Kelly McSean — are sex offenders held in connection to offenses while confined in the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Sex Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Services (SORTS) program.
The other two, Dakota Pace and Michael Wilkins, were being held on other felony warrants.
All five have rap sheets spanning the last two decades.
Tucker, 37, was convicted in 2003 of raping a 12-year-old girl in St. Louis County, according to the state’s sex offender registry. He was 17 at the time and sentenced to five years in prison, court records indicate. The sheriff’s office said while he was incarcerated for that charge he received a violation of forcible sexual misconduct.
In 2012 he pleaded guilty to a second-degree assault charge and was sentenced to another five years in prison, according to court records. He has pending cases for charges that include third-degree assault while at SORTS, second-degree sodomy and damaging state property.
Sebastian, 30, pleaded guilty in 2012 to attempted statutory sodomy of a 7-year-old girl in Greene County — he was 18 at the time of the offense — according to the state’s sex offender registry. He was sentenced to six years in prison. The St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department said he was being held at SORTS on charges of two counts of first degree statutory sodomy, when Sebastian was 15. The victims were 8 and 9, the department said.
Court records show he is scheduled to stand trial in August on a charge of knowingly committing violence upon a SORTS employee. In 2007, he received a violation for forcible sexual misconduct while incarcerated, the sheriff’s office said.
He also pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault in 2021.
McSean is a 52-year-old transgender woman from Holts Summit who has multiple convictions under her previous name, Larry Bemboom, according to police.
She pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a 39-year-old woman in 2003 in Columbia and was sentenced to five years in prison, court records indicate. She then pleaded guilty to several assault charges in 2014, one carrying a sentence of seven years in prison. She also faces charges of knowingly committing violence upon a SORTS employee.
Pace, 26, of Park Hills, was being held on charges that include resisting arrest, stealing, property damage and tampering with a motor vehicle.
He is scheduled to stand trial later this month on 16 felony counts of receiving stolen property, one count of forgery and one count of identity theft. He has several other open cases that include forgery, tampering with a motor vehicle and second-degree assault.
Pace has a long history of convictions on charges that are largely nonviolent such as resisting arrest, leaving the scene of an accident, theft, burglary and trespassing.
Wilkins, of Festus, was being held at the jail for second-degree burglary and violating probation.
The 41-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of felony motor vehicle theft in 2001 and was sentenced to six years for each charge. He received a four-year prison sentence for tampering with a motor vehicle in 2006 and another seven years in 2015 for similar charges.
People who see the men should call 911 and not approach them, police said. Anyone with information on their location is asked to call the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department at 573-756-3252 or 573-431-3131.