Ionia Co. Escapee Arraigned On Kidnapping Charge
IONIA, Mich. (April 23, 2014)– Corrections officers who were with Elliot at his arraignment were not taking any chances Wednesday.
Elliot was surrounded by a number of officials, one man keeping a hand on the chains around his back at all times during the hearing.
He was convicted of murdering four people in Gladwin County in 1993. Now, he’s charged with three new counts following his escape on Feb. 2 and capture Feb. 3.
Those charges are kidnapping, carjacking and escape.
Elliot was polite in answering the judge’s questions in court.
He escaped from the Ionia Correctional Facility by prying through two metal fences. His last gate to freedom was in the Sally Port, an area of the prison that allows cars to enter the facility. It is not electrified.
Elliot then followed the tree line into Ionia where he kidnapped Cheryl Vanwormer.
The felony complaint reads he, “did knowingly restrain Cheryl Vanwormer with the intent to take that person outside of this state.”
He drove to Indiana where Vanwormer told Elliot that she had to use the bathroom at a gas station.
She locked herself in the bathroom and called 911 with a cell phone she had concealed from Elliot.
The escape was visible on some of the monitors in the prison control room.
The spokesperson for the DOC said that a corrections officer and shift supervisor were suspended following that incident because they ignored warning lights that indicated that the alarm system needed to be reset.
Employees also didn’t see Elliot on the monitors in that control room.
DOC Spokesperson Russ Marlan said, “There are a number of feeds that come into that control room. It was dark, it was snowing; he was wearing white, long underwear. ”
Elliot has long maintained that he his innocent, yelling that to members of the media while he was in custody in Indiana.
He was already serving a life sentence for the murders in the 1990s, now he faces another life sentence for the kidnapping charge.
“It carries a maximum penalty of life or any term of years, and a $50,000 fine plus DNA to be collected upon arrest,” said District Court Judge Raymond Voet.