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ODRC: 2 inmates escaped Lima prison by hiding in dumpster; 4 employees placed on leave

A spokesperson for ODRC said one major and three correction officers are on leave as an internal investigation continues.

LIMA, Ohio — Four employees of an Ohio prison were placed on administrative leave amid an investigation into the escape of two inmates, one of which was a convicted murderer who remains at large.

Bradley Gillespie, 50, and James Lee, 47, were reported missing from the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution in Lima on Tuesday. 

Gillespie has been imprisoned since 2016 for murder, while Lee was serving a sentence he received in 2021 for burglary and safecracking.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said an internal investigation found that Gillespie and Lee exited the prison after concealing themselves in a dumpster.

Lee was discovered missing during a prisoner count at 11 a.m. Tuesday, prompting an emergency prisoner count that revealed Gillespie was also missing. Authorities later determined the two men were last seen on surveillance video inside the facility just after 8:40 a.m. Monday. 

Credit: Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Corrections

The agency said Friday that three correction officers and a major at the prison were placed on administrative leave as part of an internal investigation into the escape. 

Lee was captured early Wednesday morning in Kentucky after a police pursuit of a stolen car the men were believed to be in ended in a crash and a foot chase, authorities said. Gillespie was found dead in the Ohio River on Sunday, according to U.S. Marshals.

Credit: Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Corrections

Allen County Sheriff Matthew Treglia said officials believe the two inmates had been traveling together but did not provide further details.

The vehicle chase in Henderson, Kentucky, began around 3:15 a.m. Wednesday when officers spotted a car the men were believed to be traveling in and tried to stop it. A chase ensued and the crash occurred a short time later. Both inmates then fled the scene on foot.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is leading the investigation into the escape.

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