Jail escapee now faces felony charge

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At approximately 10:35 a.m. Sunday, inmate Emmanuel Hughes, 28, escaped from the Colleton County Detention Center, scaling a fence and exiting the facility.

Hughes was being housed in the three military-style tents installed at the jail complex for recently arrested prisoners awaiting a bond hearing. The tents were installed in an effort to protect prisoners from Covid-19 exposure by allowing those incarcerated for 24 hours or less and charged non-violent crimes to be separated from those in the jail building. The Colleton County Detention Center is one of a handful of jails in the state without cases of Covid-19.

Hughes was caught by local law enforcement several hours after his bid for freedom. He is now being housed in a secured cell inside of the jail, following screening procedures during the Covid-19 pandemic, after adding a felony charge of unlawful escape to his previous charges. The new felony escape charge carries a penalty of 1-15 years.

Hughes still faces charges from his first arrest — high and aggravated domestic violence and third-degree assault and battery — last week by the Walterboro Police Department.

Officers and administrators from both the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, K-9 Officer Papi and the Walterboro Police Department responded to the search for Hughes. A perimeter was established and a Code Red Alert was immediately sent to residents in a five-mile radius of the detention center. The immediate action taken by both agencies ultimately led to Hughes being spotted by a Colleton County Sheriff’s Office deputy.

He was taken back into custody without further incident.

“A full investigation is taking place to determine what procedural errors may have contributed to this incident. The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office is promptly addressing any identified issues and security risks going forward to ensure our citizens, employees, and inmates’ safety,” said Sheriff Charles Ghent.

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