Escapee tells officers: 'I give up. Please take me back to jail'

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By Alice Du Pont

A passing motorist on Highway 12 near Quincy Creek spotted a man coming from beneath the bridge late Monday night and called the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office. That tip, one of 60 investigators followed up on, led authorities to the apprehension of Roy Jones Jr., the 18-year-old man who had been the subject of a three-day manhunt.

Jones escaped custody last Friday morning when he jumped out of a GCSO transport van between the courthouse and the county jail.

"I give up. Please take me back to jail," was what Jones said when arrested Monday night, according to Lt. Jim Corder of the GCSO.

"We apprehended him about 10:45. He was ready to give up. He was dehydrated, confused, hungry, dirty, wet, stinky and had multiple scratches," said Corder. “He had totally run out of resources."

For three days, Jones hid under the old Stevens School on Fourth Street and inside the abandoned Quincy Feed Mill on GF & A Drive, and he had also lurked near the Tanyard Branch on South Stewart Street behind Gadsden Arms Apartments, and near Quincy Creek on Highway 12. When caught, he had a wanted poster with his picture on it.

Corder said Jones told him he eluded capture by staying out of sight and only coming out very late at night. He gained entry into the feed mill Friday night and changed out of the orange prisoner’s jumpsuit he was wearing into an old green jumpsuit he found in the feed mill. He found a can of white spray paint and painted the jail-issued orange shoes white. He spent the other nights sleeping in the woods.

"He said no one would give him anything to eat or any water. Each time he showed his face, he said people started yelling at him telling him to give himself up. He never stayed in one place too long," Corder said.

Jones' escape has caused the GCSO to put different policies and procedures in place to prevent future incidents. No longer will inmates be transported in flex-cuffs, the plastic handcuffs that are cheaper than metal handcuffs, but have a short life. Transportation vans have been outfitted with new doors and locks and both the hands and feet of inmates will be shackled with metal when in transit to or from the jail.

"He (Jones) said he had not planned an escape, but the flex-cuffs came off easy and when he kicked the van door it opened. It was an crime of opportunity and he is an 18-year-old kid who never thought about the consequences," Corder said.

Jones has been charged with escape, which carries a 5 year mandatory sentence without gained time and other charges are pending, Corder said.

A video first appearance hearing was held Wednesday morning before County Judge Stewart Parsons. Jones is being held in the county jail with no bond. He is also under close surveillance and suicide watch.