Deschutes County Jail escapee captured

K-9 bites fugitive, caught day after fleeing; alleged helper also jailed

Escapee caught amid questions

BEND, Ore - A Deschutes County Jail inmate who escaped from a work crew working outside the jail Sunday evening, running through the parking lot and scaling the fence, was captured running through a southwest Bend neighborhoods Monday afternoon, officials confirmed.

Around 12:30 p.m. came word a resident in the 61000 block SW Duncan Lane saw someone matching Keith Allen Schmidtke's description running through the yard. Initial reports indicated others also had seen the man in the area, barefoot in shorts and an unbuttoned shirt.

Capt. Shane Nelson said detectives tried to take Schmidtke into custody, but he ran from the home and a perimeter was set up with the help of Oregon State Police and Bend police.

Two K-9 teams, from the sheriff's office and Bend police, also were called to help track Schmidtke.

"Schmidtke was found by K-9 Ezel in a backyard and sustained dog bites," Nelson said in a news release.

But Schmidtke still was able to escape from the dog and was chased by police through backyards until he was taken into custody in the 20000 block of ?Cumulus Lane, Nelson said.

Schmidtke was taken to St. Charles Bend for non-life-threatening injuries, Nelson said, and will be lodged back in the county jail on charges including second- and third-degree escape, attempt to elude on foot, resisting arrest, second-degree conspiracy to commit escape and three counts of second-degree criminal mischief. Expected total bail is $50,000.

After learning that Schmidtke, 38, had escaped around 6:30 p.m. Sunday from a work crew detail between the jail and work center, deputies searched the sheriff's office property and surrounding neighborhoods without success, said Nelson said.

Sheriff Larry Blanton told NewsChannel 21 late Monday morning that it took about 4 1/2 hours for jail officials to be aware of the escape -- and hours more for area residents to get a 3 a.m. emergency notification wake-up call that, as we have learned, frightened some and angered others.

"Being this close and knowing there is that possibility of stuff like that happening and having young children, I definitely would like to know earlier if I need to keep my kids inside and make sure my doors are locked, because that's not safe," said jail neighbor Laci Fisher

Nelson reported at midday that a Bend man, Cecil Archie Turner, 30, had been arrested on a charge of second-degree criminal conspiracy. Turner -- not an inmate at the time -- has been lodged at the jail, accused of helping Schmidtke escape.

Blanton revealed that jail officials only learned of Schmidtke's disappearance at the next jail head count around 11 p.m., some 4 1/2 hours after he fled.

Other agencies were notified and Bend police helped search the neighborhoods around the jail, while three K-9 teams – two from the sheriff's office, one from Bend police – joined in, Nelson said.

An Emergency Phone Network message went out to area residents, advising them of the escape and description of the suspect.

But the calls were made around 3 a.m. due to a technical issue, Blanton said, adding that he took full responsibility for the sequence of events.

The sheriff also said it was their understanding from early on that Schmidtke had fled the immediate area, which also played a role in when and how to notify neighborhoods near the jail.

He also confirmed reports that Schmidtke was a registered sex offender, from a case dating back to 1996.

Schmidtke was being held at the jail on two counts each of identity theft and first-degree theft, and single counts of second-degree criminal mischief and unlawful entry into a motor vehicle.

He was described as a black male, 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes and a medium build. Nelson said his last known address was in Tumalo.

Anyone with information had been asked to contact the sheriff's office at (541) 693-6911.

A major stakeout and arrest also took place shortly after 9 a.m. Monday in the parking lot of the Safeway grocery on NE Third Street - but authorities later explained the man who was found in a car was another wanted man out of Idaho, and they knew it was not Schmidtke throughout the operation.

Schmidtke was described as a transient when he was arrested in late May, accused of theft from a car parked at the Motel 6 in Redmond. That arrest also led to a raid on a storage unit on S. Highway 97 in Redmond that turned up a stolen debit card, bike and other items, including personal information for several people, police said at the time.

Recovered items included a debit card from a reported theft in Bend and a bike reported stolen to Sunriver police last year. They also found personal information for several people, including Social Security numbers, names, addresses and birth dates.

Schmidtke also made the news in July 2011, when he was arrested on a dozen charges after a chase in La Pine, during which sheriff's deputies said shots were fired from one car toward another. Two passengers ran and were found hiding in a vacant home, held at gunpoint by a caretaker until police arrived.

Nelson said it's believed to be the first jail inmate to escape in over a decade -- and that also was not in the jail, or in that case, even close to it.

Back in 2003, David Asher of Redmond, had to be unshackled to get X-rays taken at a northeast Bend medical clinic. He then kicked a jail guard and fled, but was quickly recaptured three blocks away after a Bend police K-9 used his teeth to subdue the man.

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