A 22-year-old murder suspect is on the loose after he escaped custody on Monday afternoon in Indiana, police say.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Department announced on December 14 that Leon Taylor of Hammond escaped in Gary during his extradition process from Texas. The suspect escaped around 3 p.m. from a private contracted van, which was transporting him to the Lake County Jail, the Department said on Facebook.
According to Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr., Taylor is wanted on a murder charge for a homicide stemming from East Chicago.
Martinez wrote on Facebook:
An agent from REDI Transports, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, was transporting Taylor from Texas, when he escaped in the area of 35th and Grant Street in Gary. The agent called Gary police, and the Lake County Sheriff’s Department was requested to assist in the search for the suspect. Lake County Sheriff’s Department officers responded to the scene along with the Lake County Aviation Unit helicopter and K-9 unit.
Taylor is described as a six-foot-tall Black male weighing around 162 pounds, Martinez said. He has brown hair and hazel eyes, the sheriff added.
Martinez warned that Taylor “is considered to be dangerous.” He encourages anyone with information about the murder suspect’s whereabouts to call 911 immediately.
Here’s what you need to know:
Taylor Was Wearing a Belly Chain With Handcuffs & a Leg Brace When He Escaped, Police Say
According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department on Facebook, Taylor was wearing a belly chain with handcuffs and a leg brace at the time of his escape.
The 22-year-old was sporting a large grey hoodie over a black hoodie, black jeans and black Puma tennis shoes, Martinez said.
The sheriff added that Taylor is “known” to frequent Gary, East Chicago and Hammond.
The Van Driver Took Taylor to a McDonald’s Drive-Thru to ‘Ensure’ He Ate Before Going to Jail, According to Local Media
The Times of Northwest Indiana reported that the van driver picked Taylor up from the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. He then stopped at a McDonald’s drive-thru to “ensure” the suspect ate before going to jail, the newspaper continued.
Taylor asked the driver to roll down his window so that he could “spit,” The Times of Northwest Indiana said. He then fled from the open window, the outlet added.
“The agent complied, and Taylor was able to flee from the window and run away,” the newspaper reported, citing police.
Taylor’s leg brace should have hindered his ability to run, police told The Times of Northwest Indiana.
Taylor Was Arrested in Connection to the Murder of a 52-Year-Old Chicago Man, Local Media Reported
Citing a “source close to the investigation,” The Times of Northwest Indiana said Taylor was arrested in connection to the November 19 slaying of 52-year-old Chicago resident Daniel Nitzsche.
Nitzsche, who later died at the St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, told police he was robbed and shot in an alley, the newspaper continued.
Taylor was arrested on December 2 in Dallas County, Texas, according to The Times of Northwest Indiana.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Department expressed on Facebook that the courts handle all extraditions occurring outside of a roughly 250-mile radius from the county jail.
“The Lake County Sheriff’s Department is then notified of an estimated time of arrival to the Lake County Jail,” the Department wrote on December 14. “In this case, the Lake County Sheriff’s Department is assisting because the escape occurred in Lake County and the suspect was being transported to the Lake County Jail.”