Escaped Prisoner’s Body Found in Kentucky’s Ohio River

Authorities confirmed on Sunday that a body found floating in a Kentucky river is most likely the body of a murderer who escaped from an Ohio jail about a week ago.

At a news conference, Sean McKinney, the head of police in Henderson, Kentucky, said, “Today I think we can put an end to our five-day manhunt.”

McKinney said that early on Sunday, a boater saw a dead body in the Ohio River, which forms the northern border of Kentucky with Indiana and Ohio. After it was found, a preliminary investigation showed that it belonged to 50-year-old Bradley Gillespie, who was last seen near the waterway, he said.

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He said that Tuesday’s autopsy will be the last word on who the body parts belonged to. A security film from a store in Indiana showed that Gillespie walked with a limp. Police had said earlier that he might have hurt himself during the escape.

Authorities say the prisoner was last seen on Monday inside the Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution in Lima, Ohio. After a count of the prisoners the next morning, he and 47-year-old James Lee were found to be missing, they said.

Investigators say that as part of their plan to get away, the two hid in a trash can. About 350 miles south of Lima is the town of Henderson. Authorities said the two had also been seen at a Home Depot in nearby Evansville, Indiana, and in the small city of Vincennes, Indiana, where they might have tried to break into a car but failed.

On Wednesday, police say they think Gillespie and Lee were in a stolen car that was being chased by Henderson officers in the area. The car crashed, and the suspects ran away. Lee was caught nearby, but Gillespie ran away and hasn’t been found yet.

After the car chase, dozens of police officers, three airplanes, and bloodhounds swarmed the Henderson area. But on Sunday, McKinney said it was possible that Gillespie had drowned days before and that his body had been at the bottom of the river until the weekend.

“The levels or stages of decomposition are consistent with a body that has been in the water for four to five days,” McKinney said.

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Gillespie was found guilty of two counts of murder in 2016, and officials in Ohio said that he was serving two 15-to-life sentences at the same time. They said that Lee had been found guilty of burglary and other theft-related crimes.

Four workers of the corrections department were put on paid administrative leave while the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the department itself looked into the jailbreak.

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