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Truck used by escapee found in Atlanta

Cantrell fled while in court Tuesday

POSTED: July 17, 2013 6:02 p.m.

James Cantrell

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Police located the stolen truck driven by a runaway inmate from the Hall County Jail early Wednesday evening.

James Edward Cantrell evaded custody while in court Tuesday for a hearing, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Atlanta police found the vehicle in the 600 block of Etheridge Street NW in Atlanta, sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks said.

Cantrell, 46, remains at large, according to the sheriff’s office.

On Tuesday afternoon at the Hall County Courthouse, Cantrell slipped away from sheriff’s deputies and stole a truck owned by Blue Ridge Fence Co. parked on Green Street, adjacent to the courthouse.

“Cantrell was able to conceal himself in the alcove of a locked doorway on the exterior of the building,” a news release sent Tuesday said. “He subsequently located a nearby work truck, which had the keys in the ignition, and left the area.”

He was in State Court for violation of a temporary protective order, with an original charge of felony battery related to family violence.

Cantrell had been sentenced in Hall County Superior Court by Judge Jason Deal to five years in prison for the battery charge.

Wilbanks declined to say at what time deputies noticed the man was missing and how long it took to inform the public, noting the information is part of an internal investigation.

Cantrell carried a lengthy record, court records show, including charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and stalking the same victim in 2007.

He had also been charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer in 2007.

Wilbanks said it was a “high-priority concern” of the sheriff’s office to notify Cantrell’s previous victims when his escape was confirmed.

“They were notified as quickly as possible, and we have taken steps to ensure their safety,” he said.

The sheriff’s office urges anyone with any information about Cantrell to call 911 or 770-536-8812 as soon as possible.

“Do not approach or attempt to make contact (with the inmate),” the press release states. “Cantrell has a history of violent crimes and should be considered dangerous.”

The sheriff’s office described Cantrell as an African-American who is 6 feet tall and weighs 205 pounds. He was last seen wearing an orange jumpsuit, and he was handcuffed in front of his body.

Cantrell has many tattoos on his right forearm below the elbow.

Wilbanks said that both an investigation into Cantrell’s whereabouts and an internal investigation are ongoing.

“Once this investigation has been concluded the details will be made public — as long as doing so will not compromise security procedures as they pertain to courthouse or inmate transport security,” he said. “Any errors or oversights identified during the investigation will be properly addressed, but it is too early to begin speaking about disciplinary measures.”


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