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Corrections report blames convicted killer's escape largely on motion sensor turned off by staffers

Michigan Department of Corrections
Michael Elliot told the Detroit Free Press escaping from the Ionia Correctional Facility was "easy."

The Michigan Department of Corrections has released a report on last month’s escape from a state prison in Ionia. The report puts much of the blame on two corrections employees.

Convicted killer Michael Elliot, dressed all in white to match the snow on the ground, slipped through the fences at the Ionia Correctional facility to freedom the night of February 2. He was captured in northern Indiana the next day, after carjacking a woman in Ionia.

State prison officials say their investigation found a sensor that would have detected Elliot’s escape was turned off for six hours on the day of the escape. The sensor had been tested earlier that day, but was not reset by prison employees.

“Unfortunately, complacency on the part of the some of the staff working there and the failure to reset after a test is probably the glaring reason why he was able to escape that day,” says Russ Marlan, the spokesman for the state corrections department.

The report identified several other problems that contributed to Elliot’s escape.

Two corrections department employees remain on suspension. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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