The sheriff overseeing a manhunt for an escaped convict from Kankakee says a 15-year-old girl reported missing around the same time had not been with the man, as was initially feared.
Kankakee police officers located the girl Wednesday afternoon and canceled a missing person alert that had been issued.
Kankakee County Sheriff Timothy Bukowski told reporters Thursday that it was merely coincidental that she was reported missing from the same area where the convict abandoned his getaway car.
He says officers interviewed the girl and are confidant she was never with the fugitive.
Bukowski said that authorities believe someone in the community is aiding Kamron T. Taylor, who beat a guard unconscious during his escape Wednesday.
He warned that anyone helping conceal him would be prosecuted. Taylor is considered armed and dangerous, authorities said.
He overpowered the correctional officer at the Jerome Combs Detention Center about 3 a.m. Wednesday and took his keys and uniform, according to a statement from the Kankakee County sheriff’s department.
Taylor then left the jail and stole the officer’s SUV, a brown 2012 Chevrolet Equinox. The SUV was later found by police.
Taylor, described as a 5-foot-9, 170-pound black man, was awaiting sentencing at the time of his escape.
A reward of $5,000 is being offered for information leading to his arrest.
Local law enforcement agencies were helping hunt for Taylor, and the sheriff’s office has asked for help from the U.S. Marshals Service’s Fugitive Task Force.
During his trial in February, Taylor tried to escape from the courthouse minutes after hearing the guilty verdict. Several sheriff’s deputies and bailiffs wrestled him to the ground, and Taylor shouted expletives at the gallery as they led him away, according to a report in The (Kankakee) Daily Journal.
He also escaped briefly after his arrest in 2013 but was detained several blocks away, the newspaper reported at the time.
Taylor was found guilty of first-degree murder for the June 2013 slaying of 21-year-old Nelson Williams Jr. during a botched robbery at Williams’ home in Kankakee. He faces a sentence of 45 years to life.
Williams was shot in the head on his front porch during a scuffle with a man demanding money. A 911 recording capturing the sound of the single gunshot was played for jurors.
The victim’s fiancee, Rebecca Hoover, witnessed the shooting and provided dramatic testimony, telling the court she saw a man put Williams in a headlock and shoot him.
She and other witnesses acknowledged they did not see the gunman’s face, but identified him as Taylor based on his clothing, including a blue hoodie, black jeans and white sneakers.
Taylor’s attorney argued that he was mistakenly identified, saying he “made an unfortunate choice of clothing.”
Contributing: Associated Press