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Whitley County escapee caught at Middlesboro motel


A jail escapee is back in custody after spending five days on the run in southern Kentucky.

Justin Cornett

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (WKYT) - Williamsburg Police say they spent three days working 18 to 20 hour shifts trying to find Justin Cornett, but his relatives provided some clues in capturing him.

"They called and said they spotted the escapee in the area, the resident even gave chase.," said Williamsburg Chief Wayne Bird.

Cornett escaped from the Whitley County Jail Friday with another inmate, James Fields. Fields was caught hours after the escape but Cornett eluded police for five days.

Police showed up with dogs, but heavy rain caused them to lose the scent. A while later, relatives called said Cornett was ready to surrender.

"He had injured himself falling off a cliff or a high wall," said Bird.

Cornett's mother later texted Chief Bird saying her son would be at a Bell County motel but when police showed up it appeared he was getting ready to run again.

"It is my understanding he had no intention of surrendering. That's why he was dyeing his hair. He was looking for a way out the area he was in," said Bird.

Cornett is back in jail facing second degree escape, burglary and vehicle theft charges for breaking into the state highway garage and stealing a truck.

The jailer says numerous agencies helped in the apprehension including Corbin, Middlesboro, Williamsburg Police, KSP, Fish and Wildlife officers, a constable, and emergency services.


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