Officials outline search, arrest of two escaped inmates

Officials outline search, arrest of two escaped inmates
David T. Harmon and John B. Charpiot arrested after escaping from a Florence prison according to authorities. (Source: Coolidge Police Department)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Days after they escaped from the Florence prison, David T. Harmon and John B. Charpiot are now behind bars again, after they were caught in a cotton field in Coolidge.

In a joint press conference, officials with multiple agencies involved in the inmates’ search and subsequent capture detailed their efforts into how the arrests were made.

U.S. Marshal David Gonzales said five Marshals from the Tucson office were at a Coolidge Police Department office Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, working another, unrelated fugitive case. At around 9 a.m. Coolidge police received a tip from a local man, who told them Charpiot and Harmon might be in a cotton field near Vail Road and State Route 87.

All five of the Marshals alongside Coolidge officers found the two men and chased them down and eventually, the two men were tased, arrested and taken to the Pinal County jail.

During the chase, Gonzales said Charpiot and Harmon didn’t cooperate with law enforcement’s commands and asked the Marshals and officers to shoot them rather than surrender.

Florence Police Department Chief Bruce Wall said agencies collectively worked 110 hours to find the escapees after they missed their evening count at the prison Saturday, Jan. 23.

In the five days the men were on the run, authorities searched more than 800 homes in the area, Col. Heston Silbert, the director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said. The investigation into how the men escaped and where they stayed after is still open.

Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry Deputy Director Frank Estrada said the agency opened an internal investigation into the escape. He said there’s no evidence at this time that any ADCRR employees aided Charpiot or Harmon’s prison break.

Charpiot was convicted of child molestation in 2011 and sentenced to 35 years in prison. Harmon was sentenced to 100 years for kidnapping and second-degree burglary charges after he was convicted in 2012.

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