Orange Co. Jail escapee captured after stabbing himself in throat

Orange Co. Jail escapee captured after stabbing himself in throat

PAOLI, IN (WAVE) - An Orange County inmate escaped from jail, assaulted a woman and then stole her car. That was only the beginning. Once police catch up to Denny "Joseph" Kellems, Jr, he attempts to take his own life.

Indiana State Police are now building a timeline, trying to figure out what exactly happened after the carjacking but before they were able to get Kellems, 33, back in custody.

"I want to know how he got out," said Doug Sneed, the father-in-law of Kellems. 
 
Sneed was furious after he found out his daughter's husband had escaped from the Orange County Jail.
 
"He has certainly a history and is known by law enforcement here in Orange County and, in turn, knows the Orange County Jail," said Sgt. Philip Hensely, public affairs officer for the Indiana State Police Jasper post.

This time, Kellems was locked up for possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. ISP said sometime between 10 p.m. Tuesday and 3 a.m. Wednesday, Kellems was able to walk out of the sally port without anyone noticing.
 
"Certainly, everyone is concerned, we want to make sure it doesn't happen again, the sheriff's department wants to make sure it doesn't happen again, so we are trying to work on that as quick as we can," Hensley said. 
 
Police say Kellems first walks across the street to a gas station and beats up a woman and steals her car. Police are reviewing surveillance footage and the manager says that happened between midnight and 1 a.m. Kellems is later caught on foot near a French Lick apartment complex around 3:30 a.m and attempts suicide.
 
"Kellems began walking towards Paoli officer and at that point he began stabbing himself in the throat," Hensley said. 
 
Police rendered aid to Kellems and got him to a hospital.

So what happened in between the time he steals the car and is caught? Kellems' wife, who recently filed for divorce, claims he came to her parents' home where she stays, broke in and attacked her at knifepoint.

The couple has a two-year-old daughter who was home at the time. Kellems' wife said she believes he broke out because he was upset about the upcoming divorce. She was able to quietly alert her parents.
 
"She said 'call 9-1-1,'" Snead said. "9-1-1, Joe is here."
 
Police have not confirmed these allegations.
 
"We're not pinning down any sort of second victim at this point," Hensley said. 
 
What is for sure - the family hopes Kellems isn't able to get out again.
 
"I don't know what is going to come of it, but I hope he goes away for a long, long time," Snead said.

Kellems will go back to jail after he receives the medical treatment needed. State police say his injuries, though serious, appear to be non-life threatening. A police officer is stationed by Kellems side.

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