Escaped Fla. inmate caught

Michael Jeffrey Scott escaped from jail by climbing out of a hole in his holding cell ceiling

By Diane Robinson
Crestview News Bulletin

BONIFAY, Fla. — An escaped inmate from the Holmes County Jail has been apprehended and is awaiting extradition to Okaloosa County according to Holmes County Sheriff John Tate.

Michael Jeffrey Scott Olson, 27, of Crestview, was apprehended in Esto on September 5, where according to HCSO he was hiding in a shed.

Michael Jeffrey Scott Olson escaped from Holmes County Jail and has been apprehended. (Photo/HCSO)
Michael Jeffrey Scott Olson escaped from Holmes County Jail and has been apprehended. (Photo/HCSO)

Olson gave law enforcement the alias Michael Aaron Stephens as well the false age of 24. After being transported to the Holmes County Jail where he was placed in a holding cell to await transport by the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office to face charges of sexual battery on a child under the age of 12.

During rounds late on September 6, officers found a hole in the ceiling of the holding cell which led upwards into the attic. Sheriff Tate was notified and a search of the attic and perimeter began in an attempt to locate the inmate.

According to HCSO, Olson was seen at the Tom Thumb by Interstate 10 asking customers for a ride north. Olson went to the Holiday Inn behind the store where he began to knock on doors to ask for clothes. He changed into black sweat pants and a white t-shirt. His inmate clothing was discovered in a nearby wooded area.

Eventually, an older couple driving a dark colored truck with a trailer hauling a green van, gave Olson a ride, HCSO used businesses with cameras along Highway 79 to track the fugitive. Found to be traveling through Esto and into Alabama, HCSO advised Alabama authorities of the situation and to be on the look out for Olson.

The search ultimately came to an end at a truck stop where a Dothan Police Officer found the suspect and took him into custody.

Olson will be extradited to Okaloosa County to face his previous charges and will then face charges in Holmes County for the escape.

Tate says Olson was able to break through the ceiling in the holding cell due to an engineering flaw.

"There is only plywood and sheetrock above the cell," said Tate. "There needs to be some sort of metal up there to prevent this from happening again. It is an engineering flaw in my opinion. I will be speaking to the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners and maintenance people to address the issue and how to fix it."

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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