Inmate flees; 4 schools lock down

A work release inmate prompted four schools to be locked down and a 40-minute search of the hospital Monday after he ran out of a meeting.

The inmate, Jordan Burton, 28, 208 Lincoln St., Edinburgh, didn’t get very far. He ran from the community corrections facility in Franklin to the nearby Johnson Memorial Hospital, where police found him hiding in a restroom, community corrections operations manager Kenny Swint said.

Creekside and Northwood elementary schools, Custer Baker Intermediate School and Franklin Community Middle School were placed on lockdown while police and community corrections officials looked for Burton. The search and the lockdown lasted less than an hour, Swint and Franklin schools director of operations Bill Doty said.

Burton was arrested on a charge of escape, Swint said. He already was serving an eight-month sentence in the work release program for theft.

In that program, offenders stay in a minimum security facility and are allowed to leave to look for or start work, Swint said. Offenders pay for the program, at a cost of $19 per day, which is intended to allow them to work so they can start supporting themselves or their family, Swint said.

But Burton was having some problems in work release. He had been having trouble finding a job, and he had violated some of the rules of the program. Most recently he’d been found sneaking cigarettes into the facility, Swint said.

Swint had a conference with Burton at 12:45 p.m. Monday, and during their meeting Swint told Burton he wouldn’t be allowed to leave for the day to look for work. When he turned away, Burton ran, Swint said.

Swint started to chase Burton, who already had a lengthy head start, and called for backup from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and the Franklin Police Department.

Officers and deputies notified Johnson Memorial Hospital staff about what was happening and asked employees to watch for Burton. They then started searching the building, finding him in the restroom.

Police also contacted the administrators at Creekside and Custer Baker, asking them to lock down their buildings. Northwood and the middle school also were locked down as a precaution, Doty said.

All four schools went to a code yellow, meaning that no students were allowed out of the buildings, but classes and other activities went on as usual. Doty said the lockdowns were lifted by about 1:40 p.m.