JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nearly two weeks after four teenagers escaped after staging a fight at a Juvenile Justice detention center on Jacksonville's Northside, the last of the escapees was recaptured in Avon Park, south of Orlando.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said Tajah Bing, 16, and three other inmates escaped July 20 and stole a corrections employee's car from outside the detention center.
Bing was taken into custody about noon Thursday by the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Anti-Crime Team, which was acting on a tip that Bing was inside the house. Deputies said Bing was found hiding under blankets in a bedroom and was charged with resisting arrest without violence after he struggled with deputies during the arrest.
Two other teens in the house with Bing were also arrested after four guns -- one of them stolen -- and 94 grams of marijuana were found inside the home. Three of the guns were wrapped in a ski mask and the other was located in a room along with an extended magazine and another ski mask.
The three other inmates who escaped in Jacksonville, Davionne Baldwin, Tyjuan Monroe and Marcus Ledbetter were all located within 24 hours. The Department of Juvenile Justice suspended admissions at the facility as it investigates the escape.
Baldwin, 17, was arrested for escape and battery on detention facility staff. He was also charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle and violation of probation.
Monroe, 16, was charged with robbery with a firearm, grand theft of a motor vehicle.
Ledbetter, 17, was charged with burglary, escape and battery on a detention facility staff.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was notified about the escape around 11 p.m. July 20 after the four staged a fight in their dorm room at the Jacksonville Youth Academy on Lannie Road, attacked staff who entered to stop the fight, then pushed buttons to unlock the front door. Officials said one of the inmates dumped a staff member’s purse onto the floor, stole her keys and took a staff member’s issued cellphone.
Police said the teens left in the staff member's bronze four-door Infiniti with Florida tag LANE19.
The Department of Juvenile Justice released the following statement:
The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has commenced an immediate investigation into the escape of four youth at Jacksonville Youth Academy, a residential commitment program run by contracted provider TrueCore Behavioral Solutions. Two youth have been apprehended and we stand ready to assist law enforcement in any way that we can to ensure the remaining youth are apprehended quickly and safely. The Department takes escape incidents such as these very seriously, and if we discover through our investigation that failures of policies and procedures have occurred, we will take contract action against this provider. At this time, admissions to the Jacksonville Youth Academy program, have been suspended.
People who live near the Lannie Road juvenile lockup said improvements are needed to keep these escapes from happening again.
"They should really get better on their security because I don’t think the kids nowadays are afraid of anything. And for them to have gotten as far as they did, I think they need to update their facility to do better," said a woman who lives a mile away and wanted to remain anonymous.