Story Summary

Michigan Fugitives Caught In Colorado

It started in October 2012, when two fugitives escaped a Lake County, Michigan detention facility.

Kenneth Lee Grauman II, Gregory Bradshaw, and their girlfriends Laura Grauman, and 17-year-old Brittany Rector led police through hoops as they escaped areas of Michigan, Indiana ending all the way in Colorado.

The girls were captured at a gas station in Canon City, Colorado, and the 2 male fugitives were captured in a nearby hotel.

Two big errors along the way helped law enforcement to close in. The marshals were hot on their trail and a case of mistaken identity and a license plate switch at a local Safeway took them down.

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FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. – Two fugitives who escaped from a facility in Lake County, Michigan and led police on a multi-state manhunt have been sentenced for their crimes.

Kenneth Grauman II and Gregory Bradshaw were both sentenced to 18 years in prison after taking plea deals.

After their escape last September, the two fugitives were on the run for nearly two weeks.  Accompanying them on their drug-fueled crime spree were their girlfriends, Brittany Rector and Laura Grauman.

The four left a trail from Michigan, to Indiana, then to Iowa, and finally to Colorado, where they were captured.

Rector’s next court appearance is scheduled for later in April in Allegan County, Mich.

FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. —  One of the captured fugitives who ran from police in West Michigan, only to later be caught in Colorado, will be sentenced on Wednesday morning.

In February, Gregory Bradshaw pleaded guilty to to second degree burglary in Colorado.  He’s facing eight to 24 years behind bars.

Bradshaw and Kenneth Grauman II had escaped from a halfway house in Lake County, Mich., and were on the run for nearly two weeks.  Accompanying them on their drug-fueled crime spree were their girlfriends, Brittany Rector and Laura Grauman.

The four left a trail from Michigan, to Indiana, then to Iowa, and finally to Colorado, where they were captured.

Grauman is also due back in a Colorado court on Wednesday for a motions hearing.   Rector’s next court appearance is scheduled for later in April in Allegan County, Mich.

A search warrant is shedding more light on the latest charges that former fugitive Brittany Rector is facing.
Rector, 18, was part of the fugitive group from West Michigan that led law enforcement on a cross-country chase last October.
She went on the run with her boyfriend Kenneth Graumen, his cousin Laura Grauman and Greg Bradshaw after the two men escaped from a Lake County Correctional Facility.
All four were eventually caught in a hotel in Canon City Colorado with a working meth lab in a backpack police say Bradshaw was carrying.
Now, new details are emerging from a search warrant FOX 17 obtained on why Rector was charged with operating a meth lab after she was released from a detention facility in Colorado and was back in Michigan.
The search warrant states that on December, 29, a manager at the Family Farm and Home store in Allegan called police and told them that two clerks reported that Rector had just purchased a bottle of Red Devil Lye, drain cleaner, and a Mountain Dew, commonly used in making meth.
They also stated, “Brittany is known to be involved with methamphetamine.”
The manager provided a receipt as proof.
Police found Rector at home where she was questioned and admitted that, “she had purchased the lye with the intention that it would be used to manufacture methamphetamine.”
Officers say she then stated that she had, “thrown the lye in the Kalamazoo River later in the day.”
Then police say she changed her story.
The search warrant revealed the officers found a white plastic bottle in the back seat of a man’s 2001 Saturn that they believed contained the drain cleaner.
The car was taken into evidence.
Her next court date dealing with the meth lab charge will take place in late April in Allegan County.

Former Fugitive Back in Custody

ALLEGAN, Mich. – FOX 17 has a crew at the Allegan County Jail and has just learned that Brittany Rector has been taken back into custody.

Rector is accused of possessing meth components.  FOX 17 will update you with more details.

Brittany Rector, 18, is trying to rebuild her education and rebuild her relationship with her family after spending two weeks on the run with the fugitive group. FOX 17 talked more about that with Brittany in Thursday’s in-depth interview about what’s next for the teen.

“Softball`s my favorite sport,” says Brittany. She says she is working hard to create a new life and would like it to return to that of a normal 18-year-old. She’s thinking about how she might get back into athletics again. She’s also beginning testing to get her GED. She says she was the only one who passed the first portion of the test out of a group of four or five, giving her some pride. “That was kind of cool, that made me feel good,” says Brittany.

She is trying to prove to herself and the world she can do this after falling into a dark world of drugs at just 16-years-old. She says she feels in some ways she tried the drug so people would like her, but it turned her into something the caring and kind, friendly young woman hadn’t expected.

“Just a lot of anger and kind of just, it makes you want to put people down a lot in a way and because you`re not on that high anymore. So, you`re just fighting it and you`re wanting to get back on that high.”

At just 17-years old, Brittany then went on the run with her fugitive boyfriend, 32-year-old Kenneth Grauman II and 23-year-old Greg Bradshaw who had escaped from Lake County. Bradshaw’s girlfriend, 29-year-old Laura Grauman was also with them. Brittany considered her a good friend.

The three others were obviously much older than Brittany, and also heavy meth users. After Rector left her mom, sister and friends in Allegan behind, she says the three discussed with her that she shouldn’t call them.

“I just didn`t know what to do because I did want to call my mom, you know, because I missed her and wanted her to know I was OK. But, at the same time, me calling her would kind of put us in a position of possibly getting caught I guess,” says Brittany.

Jen:  “Did one of the others tell you it just wasn`t a good idea??”

Brittany: “Yeah.”

Although her mom Judith Olexa is certain the three took advantage of Brittany’s age and naivety, Brittany doesn’t feel that way right now.

“I hear things and I don`t know what other people think or what they say and me personally and how I feel and how strong strongly my feelings are for Kenneth, I don`t think they took advantage of me,” says Brittany.

After two weeks on the run through West Michigan, Kokomo, Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska, the fugitives were finally located and captured at a hotel in Canon City, Colorado. Brittany Rector was finally all alone in a detention center and finally able to talk to her mother who had been missing her so much.

Jen:  “Did you get one phone call?”

Brittany:  “Yeah, not the first time though. I don`t know if they forgot or not, but that night I didn`t get a phone call, but the next day I did.”

Jen: “And, who did you call?”

Brittany:  “My mom.”

Jen: “Did you understand then at that point how worried she was about you?”

Brittany: “Yeah, I kind of knew like the whole time we were on the run though.  Me and my mom were really close. So, it`s almost like I could feel how much it hurt. I could feel how upset she was that whole time.”

Now reunited, mother and daughter are working on getting Brittany’s life on track again. Although for Brittany, it’s been tough to work past addiction, feelings of guilt and low-self esteem and a self-imposed pressure to get her GED before she may have to serve jail time.

“I`m excited to be able to get my life on the right track. And, knowing that I could possibly go back to jail or who knows what`s going to happen in the other states and stuff?,” says Brittany. “And, just being able to get my life back on the right track and do the right thing and finish school and go to college and try to get a job. I guess just doing the right thing before something could possibly go wrong.”

Brittany could find out more about whether or not she will serve jail time in Colorado in January. Her family says she could be sentenced at that time.

When Brittany decided to go on the run, police say she went willingly. Although she couldn’t talk about the case, she sat down to talk to FOX 17, giving us some insight into what happened in Colorado and what was happening in her mind that would cause her to join up with the fugitives and stay on the run.

“Just scared, what was going to happen to me,” says Brittany Rector, 18-year-old shared her feelings about being alone in a Colorado detention facility through a slow stream of tears.

Before there was that point of regret and sadness, before Brittany Rector got sucked into a life full of police searches, car chases, meth and near death situations, she was a normal 17-year-old who enjoyed school and athletics.

“I was getting good grades in school, playing my sports, volleyball, softball, hanging out with friends,” says Brittany.

Then came a whole new group of friends, drug use and the offer to go on the run with her fugitive boyfriend, 32-year-old Kenneth Grauman II and 23-year-old Greg Bradshaw who’d escaped from Lake County.

29-year-old Laura Grauman was also part of the group. Brittany says she knows she didn’t make the right decision, but her judgment was clouded, meth playing a big role.

“I think over time it got worse. I wanted it more in a bigger quantity. It felt like over time, that`s all I cared about,” says Rector.

Brittany says as the days wore on with the fugitive group, the gravity of the situation became clearer and clearer. She says at some points while the men were eluding capture, she and Laura thought they were going to die, perhaps in a car crash.

Brittany says she did talk to Laura about running from the situation.

“Was there any point you said, ‘Laura why don`t you run’?” FOX 17′s Jennifer Dowling asked.

“Yes, there was times we didn’t know how to handle the situation or what to do. We wanted to go home, we did miss our families. On the other hand, that was our boyfriends you know? It was a hard decision to figure out what to do.”

Then, came their stop in Canon City Colorado where the fugitives were staying in a hotel room.

Brittany says she and Laura were still discussing leaving the situation at that time. Ironically, she says they were talking about what they should do almost moments before they were stopped in that stolen car and then captured outside a Canon City gas station.

The men were captured at the nearby hotel. However, the girls were unaware what happened to their boyfriends. After the arrest, the gravity of the situation hit Brittany the hardest. For the first time in two weeks, she was alone, in a strange state.

“I felt like I was alone kind of, and I was just thinking about who knew what was going on, I was scared because I didn`t know the outcome. I Laura and I got caught, but I wasn`t sure if Ken and Greg were.  Were they ok? So, I was kind of emotional about that. I don`t know, just scared about what was going to happen to me,” Rector recalled.

When she was released on bond in Colorado, another flood of emotions came.

“It was a relief, I was surprised those first couple days when I got released, it was a big emotional roller coaster…all these swings and dealing with everybody back home. It was just really emotional,” says Brittany.

Rector is still coming to terms with how she feels about Kenneth Grauman II, even as she is required to testify against him as part of her bond release.

:Because of the drugs were you ever scared of Kenneth?” Jennifer Dowling asked.

“No…no I don`t think he would hurt me whatsoever,” Rector stated.

“Can we now call Kenneth your ex boyfriend?” Dowling asked.

“No comment.”

Rector says she’s very sorry for the pain she may have caused others. She wants to beat her addiction and prove to her critics she is changing.

“I guess I`m just going to have to prove the people that think negative of me that I am a good person and can do better,” says Brittany.

Part of Brittany’s process of moving forward is her work toward a GED. She has already started the testing needed to achieve that goal.

She is also trying to start doing some positive hobbies such as learning to cook and bake.

She says she is putting on some weight after the meth addiction had caused a dramatic weight loss. She says she eventually wants to go to college and get into nursing to help others. She is also starting to attend NA meetings and says it is good to hear and learn from others who have a similar struggles and can provide a support network.

She wants to warn others about the addictive nature of meth, saying all it takes is one time and you can be hooked on the drug.

She is being more open about her addiction, something she couldn’t admit before. She says it’s a big step in her recovery process.

Rector is due back in court in Colorado in mid-January, where she learns her sentence. She was considered a juvenile in Colorado because she was just 17 when she was captured in Canon City.

Laura Lee Grauman, one of the girlfriends of two suspected fugitives, plead guilty to one count of felony charges Wednesday.

Kenneth Grauman II and Greg Bradshaw were the two fugitives on the run from Michigan for almost two weeks.

Laura pleaded to one count of felony theft by receiving stolen property, which was the car the group stole in Iowa.

She received two years supervised probation and 90 days in jail. She was credited with 26 days already served.

Laura Grauman and Britany Rector were taken into custody last month after their suspected cross country crime spree that started in Lake County, Mich.

She’ll be allowed to serve her probation in Michigan.

“I just want to apologize to the court, to my family, and the state of Colorado,” Laura said in court.

The judge was quick to reply.

“That’s not what I want to hear. I want to hear that you’ll never do it again.”

When the Michigan fugitives arrived at the hotel in Canon City, they were able to blend in for a short time, but soon their secret was out.

Two big errors along the way helped law enforcement to close in. The marshals were hot on their trail and a case of mistaken identity and a license plate switch at a local Safeway took them down.

FOX 17 may now know what led the fugitives and their girlfriends to Canon City, Colorado.

It wasn’t the “Splendid Climate, and beautiful Mountain Drives,” the town is known for. Police say it was Laura Grauman’s relative, 28-year-old Jessica Payne, who lives in Canon City. But, the fugitives didn’t know she had moved to a different house and made a big error when they went looking for her.

Instead of calling the Jessica like they were intending to, they ended up calling the wrong woman. They called 23-year-old Jessie Payne. She has a similar sounding name, but is no relation to the fugitives. She said she was sleeping when the call came in at 2:00 AM from Laura Grauman.

“She says it’s Laura Lee, and I’m like ‘who? I don’t know who you are,’” says Jessie Payne, a Canon City resident. “And, she’s like, ‘It’s Laura Lee Jessie,’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t know who you are. Why are you calling me at 2:00 in the morning’?”

Jessie says the fugitives found her number after going to an address where Laura’s relative, the other Payne, once lived. Ironically, they knocked on the door of one of Jessie’s friends who mistakenly thought they were looking for her. Jessie said Laura Grauman lied in order to use his cell phone to call her.

“She didn’t tell him what she wanted, she wouldn’t say that but, she basically made it sound like I had run away or, I was missing, I was in trouble,” says Jessie Payne.

She says Laura Grauman wasn’t making any sense.

“She mumbles, she slurs her words,” said Jessie who then became irritated. “I’m like, my name is Jessie! Don’t call me back, and then that was it. And, then a couple days later, I get a call from the federal marshals and they’re wanting to interview me because I’ve talked to a fugitive,” said Jessie.

FOX 17 spoke to the real Jessica Payne at her home in Canon City. She did not want to appear on camera, but said the four never came by her home or contacted her.  However, US Marshalls and police contacted both Jessica and Jessie Payne and now they knew for sure, the fugitives were indeed in Canon City.

“That was how they confirmed that they were here,” says Sergeant Ed Pendleton, Canon City Police Department.

The second mistake that brought the fugitives to justice was stealing a license plate from a car at a local Safeway, and then switching it out. Canon City Police say the fugitives took the plate off the Nissan that they had stolen from Iowa put that plate on the car in the grocery store parking lot, and then put the stolen Canon City plate on their car.

“Our first information from the Marshall’s Office was that they would be in a Silver GMC pickup truck,” says Sergeant Ed Pendleton.

When the woman reported there was a different plate on her car, Pendleton says police ran it and stopped looking for the pickup, last seen in Kokomo, Indiana. Pendleton says they then knew to look for the Nissan around town.

“I don’t know why they put the stolen plate on that other vehicle,” says Pendleton, “but they did. Thank goodness it helped us out.”

Jessie Payne says it’s strange how those little details, including her phone call, helped to bring the four fugitives in. “It honestly just ended up being a coincidence,” said Jessie.

When law enforcement discovered the fugitives were in town due to an accidental phone call and stolen license plate, they were able to track the four to a Canon City hotel.

From there they created an elaborate plan that involved the switching of hotel clerks to capture them.

One woman witnessed the takedown outside of her gas station.

U-Pump it station co-owner Jodi Gabriel was walking her dog, Rocky, when she saw a number of police cars in the area acting strange.

“See I saw the Pueblo County guy and he was like going really slow, he would like go to one car, and then go to the next car and I thought, that’s kind of weird,” says Gabriel.

Turns out they were tailing 17-year-old Brittany Rector who was at the wheel of the stolen Nissan and her passenger, 29-year-old Laura Grauman. Gabriel had seen the girls in the gas station a couple days before along with Greg Bradshaw and Kenneth Grauman II who had purchased gas there. She said they looked a bit “fishy”.

“My alert system is rocky and he literally kind of sat there at attention watching both of the guys,” says Gabriel. She says Laura Grauman paid, and she thought it was strange the men weren’t paying. Meanwhile, Rocy gave Grauman the stare-down.

“He was like he just kind of glared at me and looked at rocky. It was just kind of a weird kind of thing. Then, I heard they were over at the Conoco station right before that so I was like OK. Maybe the dog was a little bit of a deterant,” says Gabriel.

In fact, detectives had been following the fugitive’s movements at the nearby Royal Gorge Inn after the fugitives switched a license plate with another car, letting law enforcement know they were in the Nissan.

Laura Grauman also tried to call a relative, Jessica Payne, and instead called the wrong woman, Jessie Payne, who talked to US Marshals, further tipping them off.

“She says it’s Laura Lee, and I’m like ‘who? I don’t know who you are,’” says Jessie.

Surveillance teams including Ed Pendleton then surrounded this hotel, when the four were away. They swapped out the desk clerk at the Royal Gorge with a deputy and checked room number 216 to make sure it was empty.

“The female that works for Fremont County Sheriff’s Department had gone in and posed as the front desk clerk.  They’d gone to check the room services and knew that the people weren’t there,” says Sergeant Pendleton.

Officers then hid in neighboring rooms waiting for when the girls dropped Grauman and Bradshaw off.

“They were in the hallway,” said Sergeant Pendleton.

They waited until the men were just starting to open their door, then they pounced. “We had SWAT officers from Pueblo County that were in the adjoining rooms around and they just stepped out and took them,” said Pendleton.

“The key objective is that we wanted to take them outside of the room.”

The girls had just dropped the guys off across the street in that stolen car when police made a felony stop near an intersection and took them down in front of the U Pump It gas station.

“I’m hearing all this yelling,” said Gabriel.

That’s when Gabriel realized the four were no ordinary customers. She says police surrounded the women and held them with automatic weapons drawn.

“There was at least 10 police cars out here,” says Gabriel. She says they pulled Laura out of the passenger seat first, then Brittany.

“And they basically had her nose to the ground, and she was basically told to kiss the ground and she did,” said Gabriel.

Gabriel says police bound both their hands and feet. She says Laura Grauman was running her mouth non-stop from the front of the squad car, but overall, it was a peaceful arrest.

“The only time I was scared was when I turned around and saw the big huge gun,” said Gabriel.