Prison guards suspended following escape

News,Crime,Jaime Malarkey

Four state correctional officers were suspended for negligence following the escape of a convicted murderer Jan. 17 from the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown.

The unnamed officers -- three male and one female -- range from a probationary employee to a veteran with more than 25 years, said a spokesman from the state's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Kandelario Garcia-Ramos, 23, had escaped for nearly three hours Jan. 17 before his disappearance was detected, after being missed by two routine inmate counts, officials said. He escaped between two observation towers staffed by two of the suspended officers after scaling two fences topped with razor wire and in plain sight of the towers, officials said.

The other two suspended officers were responsible for the inmate counts.

Department officials declined additional comment beyond a media release and denied to identify the guards, citing personnel policies. The four guards can appeal the suspensions, which range from five to 15 days.

The facility used a siren to notify neighbors of the escape, and state officials said they would be working with Washington County leaders to improve emergency alerts.

Garcia-Ramos was recaptured five days after he escaped when a Hagerstown gas station attendant alerted police to a suspicious man loitering in the store. His disappearance was featured on the televised fugitive show "America's Most Wanted."

Garcia-Ramos, who was serving a 40-year sentence for fatally stabbing his former boss in 2007, was the first person to escape from a medium-or higher-security facility in the state since 2003, correction officials said, noting that those records are only kept for five years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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