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Remains at large

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Clinton Swearingen IIAn inmate who escaped from Deer Ridge Correctional Institution on May 4 is believed to have been seen by several witnesses in his hometown of Mill City in the early morning hours of May 9.

Clinton Orvill Swearingen II, 31, who climbed over the 14-foot razor wire-topped fence surrounding the minimum-security prison, is considered armed and dangerous to himself and others, and law enforcement asks the public to use caution if they encounter the suspect.

In custody since 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, Swearingen was expected to be in custody until at least Dec. 10, 2017.

After he escaped at about 9:20 p.m., according to video surveillance, he headed north to a residence about a mile away, stole a pickup truck and drove into Madras, where he ditched his blood-stained prison clothes behind a residence at C and 10th streets. On May 5, the pickup was returned to its owners, Jerry and Dotha Patterson, and the clothes were turned over to Oregon State Police, which is investigating the escape.

"When they were briefing me, someone told me he had a criminal history here and in New York," said Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins, whose department assisted with the initial search late Sunday, May 4, and part of the day Monday, May 5.

Adkins said that the prison has taken heat because of their failure to immediately notify area residents of the escape. "They’ve been very critical of themselves about their followup, but only a couple people have complained," he said.

Prison spokesman Marissa Wilson said that the prison intends to update its contacts and notification system.

Swearingen was described as a 5-foot, 6-inch Caucasian male, who weighs about 140 pounds, and has brown hair and blue eyes. He has a tattoo described as "Loyalty" on his neck, and is believed to be armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information regarding Swearingen's whereabouts is asked to call Oregon State Police at 1-800-452-7888. DRCI is located four miles east of the city of Madras, off Ashwood Road. The prison's 774-bed minimum-security facility opened in September 2007, but the state has not yet opened the 1,228-bed medium-security facility to inmates.

Swearingen's escape is the first in the prison's nearly seven-year history.

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