Reports: Lima prisoner who escaped, drowned had broken out multiple times before

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 1:05 PM EDT
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LIMA, Ohio (WTVG) - An inmate convicted of a Paulding County double murder who escaped a Lima prison and drowned in the Ohio River had escaped prison two times before, according to reports.

Henderson Police said last week marked Bradley Gillespie’s third time escaping prison. Authorities in Ohio say he also tried to swim to get away in the other escape attempts, too, according to our sister station 14 News.

An autopsy showed Gillespie, 50, died from drowning after authorities found his body in the Ohio River on Saturday. It followed a five-day long manhunt for the escaped prisoner. He had escaped with an accomplice, James Lee, 47, who police captured last Wednesday after the two escapees crashed a stolen vehicle during a police chase in Henderson, Kentucky. Lee had been convicted of safecracking, burglary and other crimes. He’s now facing additional charges stemming from the prison break and the police chase.

Authorities said Gillespie and Lee escaped from the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution last week by hiding in a dumpster, but weren’t sure exactly when they got out. Officials at the prison in Lima said the two were last seen on surveillance footage last Monday morning but did not realize the two had broken free until Tuesday morning, despite conducting numerous inmate counts. Four employees were places on paid leave as officials investigate the incident.