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Vigilance urged as prison escapee manhunt continues

By Brittany Weiner
Published On: May 06 2014 08:46:09 PM CDT
Updated On: May 07 2014 12:54:03 PM CDT
SWEARINGEN II, CLINTON ORVILL

Oregon Dept. of Corrections

Clinton Orvill Swearingen II

MADRAS, Ore. -

Madras-area residents were urged Wednesday to stay on the lookout, three days after a Linn County man scaled the fence and escaped from the Deer Ridge Correctional Institution east of town.

Oregon State Police, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and the Madras Police Department are still searching for Clinton Orvill Swearingen II, 31. who was injured climbing past the razor wire topping the security fence.

DRCI staff discovered Swearingen missing during the 10:15 p.m. Sunday count time. Video footage shows Swearingen climbed the razor-wire fence around 9:20 p.m.

"Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins' opinion is that Swearingen is no longer in the Madras area, but he can't confirm, so all citizens should remain on the lookout," the Oregon Department of Corrections said in a statement issued Wednesday morning.

Swearingen is a 31-year-old Caucasian male, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 140 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information regarding Swearingen's whereabouts is asked to call Oregon State Police at 1-800-452-7888.

Also involved in the search are the Warm Springs Police Department, Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, Bend Police Department, Central Oregon SWAT Team and Jefferson County Search and Rescue Pilots.

Swearingen entered DOC custody on Feb. 4 on one count of first-degree theft, two counts of second-degree burglary and two counts of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle out of Linn County. His earliest release date was Dec. 10, 2017.

The bloody prison clothes were found Just a few miles down the road from Dear Ridge.

"They had a few cops over there and the hound dog looking for him," Madras resident Cade Cahoon said Tuesday.

Police found the clothes in an empty lot on 10th Street near the corner of C Street in downtown Madras.

Adkins said the clothes were bloody, and blood was also found on the fence in the lot.

"If he's going to go through all that, he's probably feeling pretty desperate right now  -- if he's still in town," Madras resident Sherry Vasquez said Tuesday.

That's something Sheriff Adkins and other residents believes is not the case.

"Oh, it's back to business as usual. I'm sure he's a long way away by now," Madras resident Steve Jansen said.

Adkins said they will be testing the blood and comparing it to the blood found in a stolen car and on the back fence of the prison after Swearingen escaped late Sunday.

The prison is near its 774-inmate capacity right now, with 764 inmates -- that's without Swearingen.

The prison is now performing a security review in an effort to prevent this from happening again.

Prison officials said Swearingen worked inside the prison and not with an outside crew.

The notification system that was supposed to inform the community when Swearingen escaped is broken. The company in charge of the system went out of business. Prison officials didn't realize it was not working until Sunday night.

NewsChannel 21 checked with Deschutes County 911 Tuesday, and officials there say their notification system is up and running.

The 911 center tests the system at least every quarter.

They say they used it six times last year and in 2012, and have already used it once this year.

All land lines in Deschutes County are already registered with the reverse 9-1-1 system. If you would like to register your cellphone, you can visit the website at: http://www.deschutes.org/9-1-1-Service-District/Citizen-Emergency-Notification-System-%28CENS%29.aspx

Deer Ridge prison officials say they are working on fixing the notification system and that public safety is their No. 1 concern.

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