A nationwide manhunt is currently underway after an accused rapist escaped custody in Ohio. News of the event is captivating media outlets across the country.
According to officials, Branden Lee Powell overpowered a sheriff’s deputy in a transport van after a visit to the psychiatric hospital. Powell, who is 32 years old, is indicted on a rape charge.
Powell had been restrained in leg shackles and handcuffs, which were secured to a belly belt, at the time he escaped. While in the van he jumped over the seat and put the driver in a headlock, which then caused the vehicle to crash into a ditch.
According to the Associated Press, “Powell then obtained the sheriff's deputy's gun, according to Landers. He then ordered the deputy at gunpoint to remove his restraints, handcuffed the deputy to the steering wheel, disabled the vehicle’s police radio and engine, and fled with the deputy's wallet, mobile phone, gun, and ammunition.”
The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office has taken to social media to warn residents of the escape. Their Facebook post encourages citizens to call 911 immediately if he is spotted.
"Branden Powell, 32, escaped custody this afternoon northeast of Paulding. If you see him, please call 911 and report his location," the statement read. "He was wearing blue jeans, a dingy white and brown t-shirt, a brown sweatshirt, and wearing white tennis shoes. He is approximately 6 feet tall and 155 pounds. Do not approach this subject. He is considered dangerous," The statement reads.
Powell had previously slit his throat in a suicide attempt after being sent to jail on July 8th. After he underwent surgery, the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital stated he was fit for incarceration. Ohio State Highway Patrol, FBI agents, and U.S. Marshals are all assisting Ohio police in the search for Powell.
This situation of an inmate at large comes after two dangerous inmates escaped from a prison bus in Georgia earlier this summer. Police warned the public they were in "grave danger" after they began with a fatal attack.