DALLAS (AP) — An MMA fighter suspected in two killings who escaped from a prison van that stopped at a Texas McDonald’s was recaptured less than a mile away thanks in part to local surveillance video, police said Monday.
Cedric Joseph Marks escaped from the van Sunday morning when guards with the Texas Prisoner Transportation Service stopped at the restaurant in Conroe, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of Houston. Two guards in the van were transporting 10 prisoners, the Conroe Police Department said in a statement.
Police and the company have not commented on why the van stopped at the fast-food restaurant or how Marks escaped. Authorities have said the 44-year-old middleweight fighter was wearing leg, hand and belly restraints when he managed to flee.
No guards or other prisoners were injured in the escape, Conroe police Lt. Dorcy McGinnis said Monday.
The search for Marks narrowed after surveillance video showed him wearing his jail-issued orange jumpsuit near a business in Conroe, McGinnis said. He was found hiding in a trash can in a residential neighborhood less than a mile from the restaurant around 4:45 p.m. — about nine hours after he escaped.
He had freed an arm and a leg from his shackles, McGinnis said. She declined to say whether authorities believe Marks was able to partially free himself from the shackles or if he was improperly secured. Federal regulations require violent offenders to be shackled at the legs and have double-locked handcuffs.
A person who answered a phone number listed for Texas Prisoner Transportation Service said Monday that no one was available to comment on the escape. The private company says on its website that all its transportation specialists have a minimum of two years’ experience in law enforcement, corrections or the military, and that the company treats all detainees “as maximum security.”
The Bell County Sheriff’s Department has a contract with the transportation service to move prisoners and Marks’ escape will be taken into consideration when that contract comes up for renewal, according to Major T.J. Cruz, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
Cruz said an investigation into the escape is being handled by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office and that he’s not aware of any other such mishaps by the company.