Phelps County Jail escapee captured

An inmate who escaped the Phelps County Jail on Friday is now in custody.
Published: Sep. 30, 2023 at 10:07 AM CDT
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PHELPS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV) - An inmate who escaped the Phelps County Jail on Friday is now in custody.

The Phelps County Sheriff’s Department said Jonathan O’Dell was taken into custody around 5 p.m. just west of Kansas City following a pursuit in Ray County, Missouri. A vehicle allegedly stolen by O’Dell earlier today in Phelps County was also recovered, the agency said in a Facebook post.

At 4:10 p.m., the sheriff’s department posted O’Dell was spotted in Ray County, which is just northeast of Kansas City.

“The Phelps County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that our fugitive, Jonathan O’Dell was seen a short time ago in Ray County Missouri,” the agency said. “The witness, who knows him personally, reported him in possession of a stolen vehicle out of Phelps County.”

Rolla Police, who were assisting Phelps County Sheriff’s Department with distributing information, posted earlier O’Dell was possibly spotted about 12:30 p.m. today near State Route O, three miles south of Rolla.

The sheriff’s department said at the time of the sighting near Rolla, O’Dell was wearing a brown jacket over the maroon shirt with a Phelps County logo he was wearing at the time of his escape. He is wearing the same brown and tan pants. He appears to be “very dirty today,” the department said.

Two inmates escaped the Phelps County Jail around 11:09 p.m. Friday by “compromising the structural integrity of the cell and exiting the building,” according to the sheriff’s department. One inmate, Steven Timothy, turned himself in, while O’Dell was missing until his capture today.

The FBI also assisted in the search. O’Dell and another man, Bryan C. Perry, 37, of Clarksville, Tennessee, are facing federal charges for conspiring to murder Border Patrol officers.

A federal grand jury in May handed down a 44-count indictment against the suspects. Charges include attempted murder of federal agents, assault of federal agents and use of a firearm in a crime of violence.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri said in a news release following the indictment, the men are members of the “self-styled 2nd American Militia,” who planned to travel to Texas to shoot at immigrants crossing the United States-Mexico border.

They also allegedly planned to shoot Border Patrol agents who tried to stop them. When FBI agents arrested the men on the eve of their planned trip, O’Dell and Perry shot at the agents, according to the release.