Nashville crime expert says ‘network’ key to finding teen escapee

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s been one week since four teens escaped from the Davidson County Juvenile Justice Center in Nashville, 17-year-old Brandon Caruthers remains on the loose.

News 2 asked a former crime and intelligence analyst with the LaVergne Police Dept. and now a professor at Middle Tennessee State University, Mitzie Forrest, about finding the escaped teen.

Forrest says with about 700,000 people in Nashville, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

“With the juveniles who have been captured, their network, as displayed in news reports, were family members and friends that were giving them everything that they needed to at least attempt to make a successful and prolonged escape,” Forrest said.

She adds that a network like family to give them food, shelter, and even cell phones is the difference between finding these teens and a prison escapee like Curtis Watson.

At the time of Watson’s escape, he was serving for aggravated kidnapping.

He is now accused in the death of 64-year-old West Tennessee Correctional Administrator Debra Johnson. It took officials five days to track him down.

“He was a practiced criminal. He had years of criminal behaviors under his belt,” Forrest explained, “With these juveniles, they are younger and they are less practiced. What has made the difference for them, in my opinion, is the fact that they have a network.”

Police arrested several of the captured teens’ family members for helping them hide from authorities.

As for Caruthers, “He’s likely doing just the same exact thing as the other three were and is maybe just a little more underground with it,” Forrest said, “Maybe his network’s hiding him a little bit better. he may have even made it a little bit farther out of town than the other three, but guaranteed someone is helping him.”

She believes it is only a matter of time before he is caught.

“There’s one thing that we say in law enforcement and its that criminal just aren’t that savvy, they’re not that bright,” she said, “So, he’s gonna have to have someone likely helping him as well, and I think what law enforcement officials will do is exactly what they did with the other three and they will get him.”

Caruthers was added to the TBI’s most wanted list on Monday. There is a $2,500 reward for information leading to his capture.

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