ST. GEORGE – An inmate who escaped Washington County’s Purgatory Correctional Facility this afternoon is back in custody of law enforcement authorities.
“We have him in custody,” Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Chief Jake Shultz said, “we got him at about 9:40 p.m.”
Joseph Anthony Graham, 21, of St. George, escaped the jail around 3:30 p.m. today. His escape was initially detected by Sheriff’s Office personnel at approximately 3:55 p.m.
Multiple law enforcement agencies joined in the search for Graham. The house that he was found in was on the west side of St. George, Shultz said, and he was taken into custody without incident.
“We followed several leads on that side of town,” Shultz said.
“They’re looking into the residence he was at,” Shultz said. “Members of our SWAT – metro SWAT team – hit the house in question and he was there.”
Graham will be booked back into the Washington County Jail on new charges, one of which will be second-degree felony escape.
Before his escape earlier today, Graham had been taken into custody yesterday at 10:30 p.m. and booked into the county jail on a class-B misdemeanor warrant issued by Washington County Justice Court Judge Douglas Whitlock. The warrant stemmed from charges of domestic violence in the presence of a child.
Details on the escape are being withheld in the interest of ongoing jail security, and the location Graham was found at is being withheld in light of the ongoing investigation.
According to a statement released at 10:55 p.m., the Washington County Sheriff’s Office has initiated an internal investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the escape.
The Sheriff’s Office extended thanks to its many partners who assisted in this operation, including the Hurricane City Police Department, Ivins/Santa Clara Public Safety, the St. George City Police Department and their dispatch center, the U.S. Marshal’s Office and their JCAT team, Utah Adult Probation and Parole, the Utah Highway Patrol’s Aero-wing helicopter, the Washington City Police Department and Washington County Search Rescue Team with their search dog.
Persons arrested are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
UPDATED 10:55 p.m. with additional information per written statement released by Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
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