Local K-9 teams recover escapees


Area K9 Units made the capture in the inmate escape earlier this week. From the Holmes C.I., Jackson C.I. and NWFRC units are: (back row from left) Sgt. C. Price, Officer J. Barfield, Sgt. T. Brock, Sgt. J. Cates, Sgt. J. Walsingham, Col. S. May, (front row) Officer T. Benton, Officer K. Cooper, Officer S. Register, and Officer D. Meeks

Carol Kent
Published: Friday, July 25, 2014 at 06:24 PM.

BONIFAY - K-9 units from Washington County's Northwest Florida Reception Center (NWFRC), Holmes Correctional Institute, and Jackson Correctional Institute apprehended two escaped inmates Wednesday.

The units were among those responding to assist the Holmes County Sheriff's Office after two men escaped from Holmes County Jail custody around 12:40 a.m., but the K-9 teams had both recovered by 9 a.m.

The escapees, Jeffery Morrill, 32, of Bonifay, and David Challender, 28, of Vernon, were both facing lengthy sentences.

Morrill was recently sentenced to 30 years in the Florida Department of Corrections, and Challender, a state fugitive from Gwinnett Co., Ga., was also being housed for the Bay County Sheriff’s Office while awaiting trial for murder, home invasion/robbery with a weapon, burglary of a dwelling, and burglary with intent to commit theft.

A track was established, and Morrill was located a mile from the jail and transported back to the jail. K-9 teams then discovered two tracks, which separated into two directions.

NWFRC's K-9 team followed a track and arrived at the Holmes County Recycling center. A search of the surrounding buildings revealed Challender, hiding inside a trailer filled with tires. He was apprehended and transferred back the jail.

"We are relieved and pleased that these fugitives were captured so quickly," said Holmes County Sheriff Tim Brown. "It was good work by area law enforcement."

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