3 DJJ Employees Suspended Following Escape

Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Gates, fences and wire did not stop a South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice student who somehow managed to escape from the agency's Broad River Road campus early Sunday morning.

He is now back in custody, and three employees have been suspended.

"In this situation we have had to suspend some folks that were involved with this that did not follow our rules and policies like they should have. That happens and we have to deal with it," said DJJ Director Margaret Barber. She says more suspensions could come as the investigation continues.

Richland County deputies say witnesses spotted the escapee throwing something into a business on
Broad River Road. When they arrived he told them a fake name, but was later returned to DJJ custody when deputies properly identified him.

The agency says this is the second escape in the last two years.

"Two is too many, but hopefully our batting average will change on that one," said Barber.

She says other reports of escapees from DJJ, like the three reported at the end of May, are sometimes confused with juveniles at Aspen, a nearby wilderness camp the agency contracts with at times.

"There were some runs and of course they're very close to our campus so it may appear to be a DJJ student but it was not it was a step down or a wilderness program student", she said.

Once recaptured, Barber says escapees go into maximum security and lock down.


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