Stolen vehicle recovered; Manhunt for 2 escapees continues across southeast
WASHINGTON COUNTY — The Washington County Jail remains on lockdown, and police along the eastern seaboard are on alert after two inmates who escaped late Sunday remain on the loose.
New details are slowing emerging as the manhunt for Ronly Diza Pado, 27, and David Allan Anderson, 39, continues. Washington County Sheriff Kevin Crews said Tuesday that officials believe the cellmates used a shower curtain rod to chip away at a wall in their cell to access the adjoining maintenance room, which led outside to the jail yard.
Crews said after gaining access to the maintenance room, Pado and Anderson were able to exit into the jail yard about 11 p.m. Sunday and escape by crawling under a padlocked gate that they had bent.
"We think [the tool] was actually a shower curtain rod that [Pado and Anderson] used to chip at the wall," Crews said. "That part is still under investigation, too."
Multiple agencies are involved in the search for Pado, who is charged with stabbing to death another inmate in June, and Anderson, awaiting trial on a litany of charges after a high-speed chase earlier this year and who already was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison.
The first clue to the pair's whereabouts came Tuesday morning, when the Haywood County Sheriff's Office, in North Carolina, reported discovering the 1996 Lincoln Towncar believed stolen by the inmates from the area of State 77 and Brickyard Road Monday morning.
According to Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher, a truck also was reported stolen about 8 a.m. Tuesday from the Haywood Office Park in Waynesville, N.C. — not far from where deputies recovered the car stolen from Washington County. The truck now believed to be transporting Pado and Anderson is described as a 2001 single-cab white GMC with a broken driver’s side window bearing North Carolina tag EEL4847. A diesel fuel tank also was in the truck's bed at the time it was stolen.
According to a statement by the Haywood County Sheriff's Office, neither inmate is thought to have ties to Haywood County, and it is believed Pardo and Anderson are no longer near Waynesville, having only used the city to exchange one stolen vehicle for another.
"That is our lead," Crews said at Tuesday's press conference. "That is the biggest lead we've caught … [and it] gives us a pretty good indication that [Pardo and Anderson] went northbound from the Florida Panhandle."
Crews said the investigation already has taken law enforcement as far as New York, and investigators with the U.S. Marshals Service Felony Task Force are in place "in numerous counties, in multiple states."
"We have talked to the New York State Police and are working on finding ties to other locations," Crews said. "A multitude of investigators have been working that angle since yesterday morning, establishing family ties throughout the U.S. We have several leads of family members, acquaintances and relationships."
Crews also said tag readers, devices linked to law enforcement databases, are in place in key areas to help identify the truck to law enforcement officers as being involved in a crime.
The Washington County Jail remained on "total lockdown" Tuesday evening, and Crews said the department is in the process of evaluating the facility.
"As a new sheriff, I'm reassessing the structural part of the jail," he said. "We're in pretty good shape — you wouldn't think so, but [we are]. We just had one void … where [the escapees] were able to bust through this one part to gain access into that maintenance room."
According to a WCSO news release, Pado recently arrived at the jail "on a new charge of murder," and already was serving time for two counts of the sale, manufacture or delivery of marijuana and one count of lewd and lascivious battery out of Collier County. He is a Hispanic male, about 6-foot-1 and 183 pounds. The release said Pardo was facing a charge of second-degree murder for allegedly "stabbing a fellow inmate to death" in June at the Northwest Florida Reception Center.
Anderson was being held in the county jail on charges of fleeing and eluding law enforcement with disregard to safety of person or property, use or display of a weapon during a felony, possession of a methamphetamine with intent to sell or deliver, trafficking of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of a controlled substance without prescription and possession of paraphernalia. He also was being held for the U.S. Marshal's Office for trafficking in methamphetamine, for which he recently was sentenced to serve 22 years.
Crews asks that anyone who sees or comes into contact with the men use "extreme caution and dial 911 immediately."
Anyone with knowledge of the escape or the men's whereabouts can call WCSO at 850-638-6111 or 850-638-TIPS, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.