Inmate escapes custody in Breckinridge County, search underway

Published: Aug. 31, 2012 at 9:06 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 15, 2012 at 9:07 AM EDT
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Robert Waddell (Source: Breckinridge Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
Robert Waddell (Source: Breckinridge Co. Sheriff's Dept.)

BRECKINRIDGE CO, KY (WAVE) - Deputies are searching for an escaped inmate who strong-armed a deputy jailer and stole a jail van around 11:30 p.m. Central, Thursday.

According to Breckinridge County Sheriff Todd Pate, the jailer was transporting Robert Jeffery Waddell, 41, from Breckinridge Memorial Hospital when Waddell somehow got loose, and overpowered the jailer with a sharp object.

"The deputy jailer was getting ready to put him back in the van, he stuck some type of sharp object in his side," Pate said.

Pate said Waddell made the jailer take off his boots, then uncuff and unshackle him.

The deputy jailer told investigators that Waddell took his police radio, then drove 8-10 miles south of Hardinsburg to a remote creek bed, where abandoned him and took off in the van alone. That van was found Friday. Now the search is on for Waddell.

"All officers that we have available are combing the area, following up on any leads and we are getting a couple of leads," said Pate.

Authorities say Waddell is no stranger to them. He has an extensive criminal record.

"Most recently, he had been incarcerated for first degree rape, burglary and assault. That was last Wednesday," Pate said.

Danny Smiley lives in Cloverport, where he says Waddell is from.

"It really put me on alarm because I thought, well, he may come back around here," Smiley said. He knows of Waddell. It's really scary. A man like that may come back to his hometown. You never know."

The jail employee was eventually found at a home on Jim-Bob Mattingly Road outside Hardinsburg around 2:30 a.m. EST. Since then, sheriff's deputies and state troopers have combed several wooded areas looking for Waddell.

Waddell is Caucasian, stands 5'11" and weighs approximately 210 pounds. He is bald on top, but has strawberry blonde hair on the sides and blue or green eyes.

Waddell was arrested on August 23 on charges of 1st degree Rape, 2nd degree Burglary, and 4th degree Assault. Waddell is listed on the Kentucky Sex Offender Registry on two counts of rape of minors. The victims were ages 13 and 14.

According to Pate, Waddell is originally from Breckinridge County but has ties to Ohio County, KY. Pate said Waddell should be considered armed and dangerous, and that he believes the deputy jailer to the best precautions he could while transporting his prisoner.

If you have any information, you are asked to call police.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.