UPDATE: Escaped inmate in custody in LaPorte County - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Escaped inmate in custody in LaPorte County

Posted: Updated:
Police going door to door in Shipshewana area hunting for Michael Elliot Police going door to door in Shipshewana area hunting for Michael Elliot
Michael Elliot (Courtesy: LaPorte County Sheriff's Dept.) Michael Elliot (Courtesy: LaPorte County Sheriff's Dept.)
Surveillance photo from gas station Surveillance photo from gas station

The LaPorte County Sheriff's Department says an escaped murderer from Michigan is now in custody.

Around 5:15 Central Time, officers in the city of LaPorte responded to a report of a vehicle theft in progress at Aero Metals on Lincolnway. 

The owner told police he started his car and left it idling while he went back inside. When he came out, he saw the car pulling away.

Police spotted the vehicle heading east. LaPorte County Deputies took over when it crossed out of the city limits. They ultimately used stop sticks to take out the vehicle's tires, disabling the vehicle, which ended up in a snow bank.

"After the pursuit had ended, and he was actually put in custody, then he identified himself that he was Michael Elliot and he says he is the one that escaped from Michigan prison," said Deputy Slawek Czupryna. 

At first, Deputy Czupryna says he and another deputy didn't believe he could be the person police in two states were looking for.

"I feel great and I'm glad he's off the streets, and that's all, that's all I can say," said Deputy Czupryna.

LaPorte County Sheriff Michael Mollenhauer says police believe Elliot stole a total of four vehicles, starting with the Jeep from Michigan, then a vehicle in Shipshewana, followed by another car Mollenhauer believes was taken from Elkhart County. That vehicle was found in LaPorte after the chase.

Elliot is now being held at the LaPorte County Jail without bond on several charges, including Motor Vehicle Theft and Resisting Law Enforcement.

Earlier:

Police say after searching the Shipshewana area for an escaped Michigan inmate who had been spotted in Elkhart County, Michael Elliot has not been located.  A nationwide alert has been posted for his capture.  

A vehicle was found around 12:00pm on Monday in Shipshewana.  The woman who spotted it says she saw the description on the news, then saw the same vehicle just outside her home.  Police told our crew on the scene that they believe it was dumped around 6:45 or 7:00am.  They are not sure at this time whether Elliot is hiding in the area or stole another vehicle and fled the scene. 

Police say they are continuing to follow tips and will go door to door "wherever they think it is necessary."  People in the Shipshewana area are still urged to report any suspicious activity they see.

Westview Schools were placed on external lockdown while authorities investigated, but students were released at the regular time.  Kids at Shipshewana-Scott Elementary were sent home one bus at a time to improve security.

Police say 40-year-old Michael Elliot, who was serving a life sentence for multiple murders in 1994, as well as armed robbery and arson escaped from the Ionia County Correctional facility Sunday night.

He apparently abducted a woman at knife point, forcing her to drive him south. She was able to get away when they stopped for gas at the Marathon Station in Middlebury at State Road 13 and County Road 2.

The LaGrange County Sheriff's Department says they received a 911 call from the woman.  The dispatcher told the woman to lock herself in the gas station bathroom and not leave, and then contacted Elkhart County to send out officers.

Elliot was no longer at the gas station when police arrived.  The victim told police he was wearing a pair of her black cargo pants and was wearing a jacket.  She also said he had her red Jeep Liberty with the Michigan license plate 5FTG55 and looney tunes stickers on it of Bugs Bunny and Taz.  That vehicle is the one found by the LaGrange County Sheriff's Department Monday afternoon.

FOX28 is following the developing news and will bring you the latest updates as they become available.

The Associated Press Contributed to this story.

 

 

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