Escaped inmate captured hours later

By: By Kasie Strickland -
Jonathon Ray Jefferson Neal
Statements indicated the motivation for his escape was to see his family.

PICKENS COUNTY — An escaped inmate, who was captured mere hours later, may have added more time to his original sentence if found guilty of the additional charge of Escape.

A notice went out on June 21 that The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office was attempting to locate an inmate that escaped from the Detention Center earlier Thursday morning at approximately 10:45 a.m.

Jonathon Ray Jefferson Neal, 24-years-old, had been brought into the facility on the afternoon of June 19, 2018, for a Violation of Terms of Probation, Pickens County Sheriff’s Officials said.

“Preliminary investigation indicates that the inmate, who is classified as minimum security, was on a fenced recreation yard when he managed to scale a brick faced wall,” said PCSO Chief Deputy Creed Hashe. “The subject was able to crawl through an opening in the overhead fencing and escape through multiple rolls of razor wire. He ultimately jumped from the roof of the facility and fled on foot.”

Neal left wearing an orange colored jumpsuit but information was released that he changed clothes a short distance from the Detention Center into casual clothing, deputies said.

“This individual was not being detained for any type of crime of violence and not believed to be affiliated with a gang or any other known group associated with violence,” said Hashe.

Still, the Sheriff’s Office asked anyone who saw Neal to report his location to authorities rather than to approach him.

Around three to four hours later, he was back in custody when a deputy located Neal at a residence on Hwy 8.

After a brief foot chase, he was taken into custody without any further use of force, officials said.

He was transported back to the Detention Center where his status will be upgraded from a minimum to a high risk security level. He now will face the additional charge of Escape, they said.

According to documents from the SC 13th Judicial District, Neal was on probation after having pled guilty in December 2017 to Possession of a Controlled Substance, 1st offence. He was sentenced to 6 months upon the service of time served, nine months probation, substance abuse counseling and random drug/alcohol testing.

Statements made by Neal to the arresting deputy indicated that the motivation for his escape was merely to see his family, Hashe said.

“The residents of Pickens County are fortunate to have the caliber of deputies that work for the citizens at the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office,” said Sheriff Rick Clark. “The tenacity and commitment displayed today by our personnel to locate and return this man to justice so quickly speaks volumes in regards to their efforts and service to our community. My hat is certainly off to the arresting deputy. Job well done!”

Jonathon Ray Jefferson Neal Ray Jefferson Neal Courtesy photo

Statements indicated the motivation for his escape was to see his family. indicated the motivation for his escape was to see his family. Courtesy photo

By Kasie Strickland

Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.

Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.