32 teens escape from DCS facility in Nashville - WKRN News 2

32 teens escape from DCS facility in Nashville

Posted: Updated: Sep 03, 2014 09:01 PM
Thirty two teenagers escaped from the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center in northwest Nashville late Monday night. Thirty two teenagers escaped from the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center in northwest Nashville late Monday night.
DCS spokesperson Rob Johnson addresses the media about the escape in a news briefing. DCS spokesperson Rob Johnson addresses the media about the escape in a news briefing.
Once in the yard, the teens realized they could lift part of the fence surrounding it and get out. Once in the yard, the teens realized they could lift part of the fence surrounding it and get out.
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  • TIMELINE OF EVENTS: Woodland Hills escape

    TIMELINE OF EVENTS: Woodland Hills escape

    At 11 p.m. on September 1, 2014, 32 juveniles escaped from the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center on Stewarts Lane in Nashville. Two dozen more teens escaped two days later on September 3, 2014.More >>
    At 11 p.m. on September 1, 2014, 32 juveniles escaped from the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center on Stewarts Lane in Nashville. Two dozen more teens escaped two days later on September 3, 2014.More >>
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Thirty two teenagers escaped from a Tennessee Department of Children's Services youth detention center in northwest Nashville late Monday night and five of them were still on the run Saturday.

The teens still at large are: De'Mario Fisher, 17; Jaron Carrethurs, 17; Kuyvonta Cain, 17; Omar Manzanarez, 17; and Tajhiee Cockerham, 17. View their mug shots.

Jerry Reason, 18, was among those who remained at large throughout the day Tuesday but turned himself in around 5:30 p.m.Jasper Potter-Monroe, 17, evaded authorities until they finally captured him Wednesday in Madison. He was caught after leading police on a short pursuit and bailing from a car that was stolen in Murfreesboro Tuesday.

DCS released a list of convictions for each of the original eight students who weren't captured within a few hours of the escape. Their charges range from aggravated battery and aggravated animal cruelty along with multiple robbery and drug offenses. View a full list of their convictions here.

Police said the escape happened at 11 p.m. Monday night, 30 minutes after shift change, at the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center on Stewarts Lane.

DCS spokesman Rob Johnson said the teens, ages 14 to 18, were in four different dormitories when they left their rooms, overwhelmed staff members and kicked out metal panels under windows to get out of the buildings and into the yard. View photos from the scene.

Once in the yard, the teens realized they could lift part of the fence surrounding it and get out.

Two teens were captured immediately. Others were found during the early morning hours in various neighborhoods, some miles away.

DCS said Wednesday a 33rd student was also involved in the escape while in the facility's yard, but never made it outside the fence. He was detained and charged with escape before leaving the property.

As the teens were escaping, one officer was hit with an object and another was knocked to the ground. DCS stated Wednesday morning neither was seriously injured. They were seen by the nursing staff at Woodland Hills once their shifts were over around 8 a.m

In a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Johnson said there were 16 staff members on hand when the teens escaped but were working in different areas across the facility.

“We are talking about four different dorms. We're talking about two different buildings,” Johnson explained. “There are six buildings we are talking about, and when we are talking about the 16 to 18 folks, they are spread out within those different buildings.”DCS said Wednesday that as of Sept. 3, there are 26 staff vacancies at Woodland Hills, 14 of which are for children's services officers.

Officials also said in the news conference Tuesday they plan to review their protocols.

“Obviously there is a chance that something could have happened to the kids, something could have happened to the staff,” Johnson said. “Obviously you have to take a look at how the staff is arranged. Obviously you have to take a look at a wide variety of things.”

He went on to say there are several parts of what they plan to take a look at, including the needs of the kids, their mental health, their security needs and what changes need to take place to make these situations less possible.

Johnson said 78 teens from Nashville and others parts of Tennessee were living at the state-owned facility at the time of the escape. Teens are only admitted to Woodland Hills if they have committed at least three felonies.

The facility is one of three DCS operated youth development facilities that provide delinquent male youth with 24-hour supervision and care.

They offer many services to help rehabilitate the teens including medical and dental care, religious services, counseling, aggression training, psychiatric services and more.

According to the Associated Press, the facility was the site of a 2004 breakout attempt in which more than a dozen teens injured 16 staffers before they were dispersed by police.


The Associated Press also reports that in 2010, the Department of Justice ranked the facility as 13th in the country for reports of sexual abuse by staffers.

According to Johnson, security changes were made after an attempted escape at the facility in May. Some of the teens got out of their dorm rooms but didn't make it past the fence.

Johnson said they thought that's what happened again Monday night. They contacted Metro police 90 minutes later after realizing the teens had actually left DCS property.

Metro Schools' spokesperson Joe Bass told News 2 area schools were alerted of the escape but no schools were on lockdown or lockout.

Tuesday night, News 2 spoke to escapee Jerry Reason's mother, Tracy Reason. She told News 2 she picked him up her so and took him back to the facility after he called.Reason had been at the facility since January for aggravated burglary and theft.

His mother is now curious how the escape happened.

"I just don't understand how 30-something kids can just up and leave. I just don't get it," she said. "The guards are doing their jobs but something is slipping."

As of Wednesday afternoon, six teens remain at large.

The escapees were wearing a uniform of dark blue pants, gray or white shirts and black shoes.

Anyone seeing teens matching that description should call Metro police at 615-862-8600.

DCS has set up a website to provide updates on the escape.

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