Hanceville man finds escaped Cullman County inmate

Local News

HANCEVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — The escaped inmate, Leo Chavez, who was convicted for murdering his parents, has been recaptured. The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office said Chavez was apprehended by a Hanceville man who held him at gunpoint.

Chavez was the last of the four inmates who escaped the Cullman County Detention Center on Thursday. Lawrence Baker, the man who captured Chavez, tells CBS 42 he had one thing in mind when he spotted the inmate and that was to protect his family.

“I didn’t want nobody to get hurt. We weren’t gonna get hurt and I didn’t want him to get hurt,” Baker said.

Baker was eating dinner inside his home near Arkadelphia Road. He said he noticed Chavez walking up the driveway.

“Happened to look out the door and that’s when I seen somebody walking down the road and had a jacket over his head. Kind of looked suspicious,” Baker said.

Moments later, Baker went outside to confront the inmate.

“When I saw his pants, I ran and grabbed my gun and came out. I asked him if he was the one they were looking for and he said yes sir. And I said he needs to come over here and sit down on the ground,” Baker said.

Baker said Chavez told him he came from the rail road tracks near by. His wife called the Hanceville Police Department and officers arrived within minutes.

Cullman County Sheriff Matthew Gentry is thankful Chavez is off the streets and not putting the public in potential danger.

“Anybody that’s convicted of two counts of murder that murdered their mother and father, that’s dangerous,” Gentry said.

Chavez is supposed to be in prison for his crimes. Due to COVID-19, his transfer with the Department of Corrections has been delayed.

“It’s adding a burden and stress to your local law enforcement and what we are dealing with here,” Gentry said.

Baker said his interaction with the inmate was calm. He never felt threatened by him.

“He was just as nice as he could be. I mean, I reckon he was ready to give up. Said he was cold and he was hungry. Said he made a mistake when he escaped,” Baker said.

He wanted everyone in the situation to be safe.

“Just be calm. Don’t panic. Just do what you got to do protect your family. And that’s all I did,” Baker said.

Baker is set to receive the $10,000 award for Chavez’s capture. No word if Chavez or the other inmates involved will be transferred to another facility.


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