SC sheriff: Escaped murder suspect, other inmate captured

Ashley Tyler and Kenneth Lipsey Jr. (WSPA)

UPDATE (9:25 a.m.): Ashley Tyler, 40, and Kenneth Lipsey, Jr., 18, have been captured according to the Union County Sheriff’s Department.

Both men were found around 9 a.m. Saturday in a wooded area by Buffalo Creek and were returned to the Union County Jail.

The Sheriff’s Department says that a homeowner in the area spotted footprints with no shoes headed into the woods. Bloodhounds were sent to the area and eventually tracked down the two men, who were taken into custody without incident.

Tyler and Lipsey will each have a bond hearing at 3 p.m. Saturday for an additional escape charge.

Officials report that both men will soon be moved to a higher security prison.

UNION COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The two inmates who escaped from the Union County Jail Friday remain at large.

The State Law Enforcement Division was brought in to help with its helicopter and search dogs.

Ashley Tyler, 40, and Kenneth Lipsey, Jr., 18, escaped the jail around 4 p.m. Friday.

Tyler has been charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. Sheriff David Taylor says Tyler shot and killed his stepmother, Rebecca Tyler, in November 2015. He’s also a registered sex offender.

Linsey was arrested on meth charges.

Sheriff Taylor says the two men shared a cell at the jail.

Before their escape, he says the men were in the recreation area. They took the chain link fence apart, got out, put a blanket over the concertina wire, pulled themselves up on top of the roof of the jail, and ran across the roof where they jumped off.

They escaped off the back of the jail. The sheriff says they believe Tyler had been planning the escape for some time.

“I’d like to say that we have a very secure facility but our facility was basically designed as a medium type security. Unfortunately, when you build a facility that’s not up to the standards that it needs to be, this is the outcome,” said Sheriff Taylor.

“We have tracked them to this area [Bailey Road] with our bloodhounds to the Buffalo community,” he said.

“The last thing we knew of these two individuals is they were wearing light grey and dark grey striped inmate pants.”

He said the men are believed to be shoeless. He said they don’t believe the inmates were able to get other clothes or access to a cell phone.

The sheriff said the men were sighted within a half a mile of the Buffalo Fire Department, but went into a nearby creek before bloodhounds could get to them. He also says they believe the men crossed under Highway 176 through a pipe.

“One of them is wanted for murder so we know he doesn’t have any regard for human life so I would consider a murder suspect on the loose that has escaped a threat,” said Sheriff Taylor.

If anyone sees the men, they’re asked to call 911.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office is offering a reward for any information leading up to their capture.

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