Escaped inmate continues to elude officers

Published 10:49 am Wednesday, May 7, 2014

More than 48 hours in, the search continues for a Rayburn Correctional Center inmate who escaped from the prison Sunday afternoon.
Patrick Martin, 52, a minimum-security inmate and a trusty who was assigned to take care of the horses, escaped between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., according to Warden Bobby Tanner.
Tanner said the officer who was assigned to take care of Martin saw him earlier in afternoon and returned about 4 p.m. to bring the inmate back to the secure compound.
Upon his return, the officer realized Martin was not there. Tanner said the officer called out to him and looked around for him.
“At that time he notified his supervisor who, in turn, notified the wardens,” Tanner said. “We initiated our escape procedures. That included activating our automated phone alert system.”
Tanner said the phone system, operated by First Alert, put out a robo call to residents with a 25-mile area.
He said officers from Rayburn Correctional Center, Louisiana Probation and Parole, Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, Angie and Varnado police departments are searching for Martin. He said officers from the Franklinton Police Department and all the surrounding parishes and counties are providing assistance, as well.
The RCC shift that normally would have been off has been called in, and he said nearly the entire staff is working full time on the search.
Tanner said RCC’s K9 officers are out looking for signs of Martin or tracks, but challenges include the rough terrain and thick woods.
He said officers are maintaining a perimeter of approximately 2 to 4 miles around the prison, adding they are out in the area surrounding the facility, hoping to catch a glimpse of Martin.
Tanner said Tuesday that there is, at this time, no reason to believe the inmate is outside that perimeter. He said officers can be moved if there is a credible sighting.
He said sheriff’s deputies have been maintaining the perimeter checkpoints in Varnado and Angie, and officers are patrolling and hoping to get a sighting of Martin or locate tracks that would indicate he has been through a specific area.
If tracks are spotted near a creek, for instance, officers will know they can get the dogs there to start looking for him, Tanner said.
Martin is about 6 feet tall and weighs about 175 pounds. He has brown hair, brown eyes and a tan complexion.
Tanner said Martin had been charged with armed robbery and was out of Tangipahoa Parish.
He was sentenced to 15 years on March 28, 2006. With his good time credits, he would have been eligible for release on Dec. 30, 2017.
Once he is apprehended, Martin will now face disciplinary proceedings within the institution, in addition to criminal charges, Tanner said.
Tanner said that if members of the public see Martin, they should not approach him.
“Although he was considered a trusty here, escape is considered an act of desperation,” he said. “We want the public to assume he is dangerous.”
Anyone who sees Martin is asked to call 9-1-1 as soon as possible.
Let authorities know about the inmate’s appearance, what he is wearing and the exact location he was spotted so officers will know where to send the dogs in, Tanner said. If possible, arrange to meet the authorities there to provide specific information about the location, he said.
“Do not go into the area because it contaminates the scent, making it difficult to determine who we’re looking for,” he said.