Convicted multiple murderer escapes jail, kidnaps woman

Reuters

, Last Updated: 1:21 PM ET

A man convicted of four 1993 murders escaped from a central Michigan prison during the Super Bowl broadcast and is on the loose after kidnapping a woman and forcing her to drive to Indiana, prison authorities said on Monday.

Michael David Elliot, 40, escaped Sunday night from the prison in Ionia, where he was serving four life sentences, the state's Department of Corrections said.

"He made it through some fencing," prison spokesman Russ Marlan said in a telephone interview, "and it was obviously a vulnerable spot of our perimeter." That spot had since been secured, Marlan added.

After his escape at about 7 p.m. EST (0000 GMT Monday), Elliot used a box cutter, or knife, to kidnap a woman in Michigan and forced her to drive for about 100 miles to a gas station in Middlebury, Indiana, said Indiana broadcaster WNDU.

Elliot came upon the woman, who appears to have no relationship with him, at a gas station or party store, Marlan said. There appeared to be no planning of the escape with anyone from the outside, he said.

The broadcaster said the woman had fled the car, locked herself in a bathroom and called the police, while Elliot paid for the gasoline and drove away in her vehicle.

The car was a red 2004 Jeep Liberty with Michigan license plates, according to Indiana State Police spokesman David Bursten. But the last sighting of Elliot was just before midnight, and he could be now be in a different vehicle, Marlan said.

The prison's website says Elliot is white, 5 feet 8 inches tall, 165 pounds, with brown hair and eyes and tattoos on both arms. His picture shows him with a moustache.

Elliot did not use tools to get through the prison fence, but apparently was able to adjust it with his hands to fit his body through, Marlan said.

He said prison officials were making changes at Ionia and other facilities that have similar security systems.

Marlan said Michigan officials, who are working with U.S. marshals and other law enforcement, had "a couple of leads" on Elliot's destination but did not want to provide too many details.

Elliot has also been convicted of arson, armed robbery and possession of a firearm during a criminal offense, according to the Department of Corrections' website.


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