Police: Armband may belong to escaped detainee in Ridgeville

Police: Armband may belong to escaped detainee in Ridgeville

RIDGEVILLE, SC (WCSC) - Ridgeville Police say they have found an armband they say likely belonged to a juvenile who escaped a detention center Sunday.

The armband was located approximately a mile away from the Department of Juvenile Justice Coastal Evaluation Center in Ridgeville.

Around 1:45 p.m. Sunday, officials discovered a hole was cut through a fence at the facility, then determined after a head count that a 17-year-old detainee was missing.

As South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the DJJ and Dorchester County deputies work to find the teen, people who live down the street from the facility say they're locking their doors after hearing about the escape.

There are only a few homes on the Campbell Thicket Road near the detention center. Melody Green, of Ridgeville, can only remember a few times where inmates have escaped.

"We do get worried, we always worry," Green said. "I have an old aunt here, she's 89, so I get worried leaving her to go to the store or something."

"We have to accept things that we can't change, and change things that we can," Taffany Bolger, of Ridgeville, said. "We can't change the fact that he's out, so the only thing that's left to do is keep our doors locked and pray."

Bolger said she found out about the teenager's escape late Sunday afternoon when the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office sent out an automated alert call to residents.

"They gave his name and his birthdate and said he was affiliated with a gang and could be dangerous," Bolger said.

Department of Juvenile Justice officials said the teenager has a tattoo on his back that reads "North Main."

"I think he may have been here," said Joseph Boyd, a worker at Ridgeville Convenience Site. That is the location where Ridgeville Police were called to pick up what is believed to be the identification armband of the missing inmate. It was located next to an orange bucket behind the trash compactor. Boyd believes this is the spot where the teenager hid, because the orange bucket wasn't where he left it on Saturday.

"Those gates are locked, and you have whoever passing by... they're not going to think anything [of it]," Boyd said. "But if you're sitting there, nobody can see ya. So you sit there until whoever honks the horn or whatever you do to get your ride."

Boyd said the first thing he did when he got to work Monday morning and found the bucket was start up the compactor.

"I say, if he's in there, he'll get crushed by enacting the compactor," he said. "I didn't open up it up until the first person came."

Boyd and others believe the inmate is no longer in the area.

Officials have declined to release his name or a photo to the media, but said he would have escaped wearing a green jumpsuit with a white t-shirt and blue basketball shorts underneath. He may have changed clothes since disappearing.

An official with the DJJ described the missing detainee as a light-skinned black male, about 5'6" and 200 pounds with a tattoo on his back that reads "North Main."

Anyone who comes in contact with the inmate is asked to call 911.

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