Body of convicted killer who escaped from prison found in river, other escapee arrested
Two inmates escaped from a Lima prison, including a convicted murderer and another who was convicted for burglary, breaking and entering and safecracking.
HENDERSON, Ky. (WTVG) - The manhunt is over for a convicted murderer who escaped from a Lima prison with another inmate by hiding in a dumpster.
A police department on the border of Indiana and Kentucky said Sunday that officials recovered the body of the man they believe is Bradley Gillespie, 50, of Defiance, in the Ohio River. They previously announced they arrested the other inmate, James Lee, 47.
An autopsy is planned on the body to confirm Gillespie’s identity. The chief of the Henderson Police Department said the decomposition on his body was consistent with someone who was in the water for four-to-five days. His body was located near his last known location.
A boater on the water noticed the body floating on the water Sunday around 1:30 p.m. CST when they called police.
Henderson Police said last week officers tried to pull over a stolen vehicle with both inmates inside when it attempted to flee. The driver would eventually crash, and both occupants fled on foot. James Marion Lee, 47, was arrested. You can watch surveillance footage showing the moment police arrested Lee in the videos below. Gillespie, who was the passenger in the car, got away.
According to the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, James Lee and Gillespie escaped from the Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution. Gillespie was convicted for a double murder in Paulding County and Lee was convicted for burglary, breaking and entering and safecracking. Officials said they escaped by hiding in a dumpster.
Police used choppers, boats, infrared technology and K9s to search for Gillespie over the course of several days. Henderson’s Police Chief, Sean McKinney, said Friday investigators have followed nearly 100 tips and have about 1600 man hours invested in the search.
Authorities released surveillance footage on Friday showing the escapees walking through a parking lot of a Home Depot in Evansville, Indiana on Tuesday night before they led police on a chase. They say Gillespie had a limp, indicating he had been hurt in his escape.
Ohio State Highway Patrol released a video message from Gillespie’s daughter on Friday, showing the girl pleading with her father to turn himself in. You can watch it in full in the videos below.
“I want you in my life, I want you in my wedding,” Gillespie’s daughter said in the video message. “I don’t want anything bad to happen so if you could please just turn yourself in before anybody gets hurt I would appreciate it. We want you safe, we want you back, we don’t want anything bad to happen.”
Lee is being held in the Henderson County Detention Center. He is facing additional charges stemming from the prison break, including two counts of fleeing or evading police as well as a a receiving stolen property charge.
Authorities held a news conference Tuesday night in which Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution officials confirmed more than 26 hours went by between the time two inmates were last spotted on prison security cameras and the time workers determined they had escaped
“What we have found out is that there is a discrepancy in our count,” officials with the prison said.
An investigation is underway to determine how the prison failed to notice their absence sooner despite an internal policy of conducting seven daily inmate headcounts.
Those counts happened at 9:30 p.m., 12 a.m., 2 a.m., 4 a.m., 6 a.m., 11 a.m., 4 p.m., the prison representatives said during the press conference.
Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution warden Angela Stuff provided the following timeline of events occurring on Tuesday:
- 11:15 a.m. - Authorities realize James Lee could not be accounted for during inmate headcount
- 11:45 a.m. - Emergency count is approved and completed
- 12:19 p.m. - Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution notifies Ohio State Highway Patrol
- 12:27 p.m. - Lima Police Department is notified
- 12:45 p.m. - Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution confirms that Bradley Gillespie cannot be located
- 1:02 p.m. - Local law enforcement and OSHP is on site
- 2:17 p.m. - The first press release is sent to media outlets
13abc reported on Sept. 30, 2016 that Gillespie was found guilty of killing 21-year-old Hannah Fischer and 47-year-old Frank Tracy Jr. of Paulding County. Fischer’s body was found in her apartment in February of 2016 and Tracy’s body was found in a cemetery near Fischer’s apartment in March of 2016.
Video OSHP released on Friday shows the child of escaped double murder convict, Bradley Gillespie, asking her dad to turn himself in
Surveillance footage shows police in Henderson, KY arresting James Lee, one of the Lima prison inmates who escaped earlier this week, on Wednesday morning.
The following Action News Now report livestreamed on Wednesday afternoon, May 24, 2023.
The following Action News Now report livestreamed on Wednesday morning, May 24, 2023.
The following report aired on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.
The following breaking news report first aired on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.
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