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Sheriff: Ohio man accused of murdering baby briefly escapes Florida jail

The Pineallas County Sheriff's Office in Florida says Cody Jondreau escaped the jail for about 10 minutes before he was captured.
Credit: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — An Ohio man accused of murdering his 9-week-old son escaped a Florida jail on Wednesday but was caught within minutes, according to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

Gualtieri said 25-year-old Cody Jondreau was booked into Pineallas County Jail last month after being arrested on a warrant out of Polk County.

Due to the U.S. Marshal's involvement in transporting Jondreau back to Ohio as a fugitive, the sheriff's office says he was placed into the Pinellas jail in the maximum-security wing. 

All inmates at the jail, regardless of where they are being held, are allowed time in the recreation yard. That's where Jondreau attempted his escape around 10 a.m. Wednesday.

The sheriff's office says the inmates in the yard at the time had indicated to the deputy in the tower that they were ready to head back inside. To alert the control room to let the group in, Gualtieri says the deputy went into the tower to call it in. 

At that time, the sheriff's office says Jondreau entered a restricted "painted area" in the yard and scaled the wall using a door handle, awning and conduit before reaching razor wire.

Instead of stopping there, Jondreau took his shirt off and wrapped it around the razor wire before hoisting himself up and over and onto the roof, according to the sheriff's office. 

To continue his escape, Gualtieri says Jondreau made a 14-foot jump off the jail roof and scaled a fence also topped with razor wire. Deputies are reported to have tried to pull Jondreau off the fence but were unsuccessful.

The chase came to an end when Jondreau ran onto the property of a local business, was tased, tried to run again and then was taken down by deputies.

The sheriff's office says Jondreau was out of the jail for about 10 minutes and was never a threat to the public. Jondreau did suffer a broken heel and needed about 80 sutures for lacerations.

At this time, the sheriff's office has no indication that Jondreau was working with other inmates to stage the escape, though Gualtieri is not convinced the escape was as spontaneous as the 25-year-old claims.

“We don’t have any indication that he had any help or that anybody else was involved in it. He claims that it was spontaneous but he also mentioned he had thought about trying to escape when he was in Polk County and was looking for ways to do it. He didn’t want to be in jail," Gualtieri said. 

Charges related to the escape are forthcoming from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office but will be held until Jondreau goes through the court system for his murder charge in Ohio.

There is no exact timeline for when the U.S. Marshal Service will pick Jondreau up from the jail. He will be kept in a single cell with no recreation yard access until they do.