Hungry and in need of clothes, Brown County Jail escapee Mark Rhoads left a note on his sister’s car in Lawton, Okla.
Rhoads hadn’t eaten in three days, and he needed clothing, he explained in the note. He asked her meet him at their mother’s grave in a cemetery just outside Lawton.
His sister found the note Wednesday — three days after Rhoads walked away from the Law Enforcement Center in Brownwood, where he was an outside trusty — and contacted sheriff’s officials there.
“She didn’t want anything bad to happen to him,” Comanche County, Okla., Sheriff Kenny Stradley said by phone Thursday from his Lawton office.
Stradley and Brown County Sheriff Bobby Grubbs described the scenario that led to Rhoads’ capture as he hid in brush outside Lawton around 7:20 p.m. Wednesday.
A deputy hid in the back seat of Rhoads’ sister’s car as she drove to the cemetery. There was no sign of the 43-year-old escapee. Then sheriff’s officials learned more information: he might be driving a stolen white Kia.
That information came from Brown County Sheriff’s officials, who were following up on a report of a stolen rental car from Oasis Collision Repair. The business is at the top of Day’s Hill on Highway 279.
Rhoads’ sister and the deputy were about a mile outside the cemetery when she noticed a white car rapidly overtaking them. She thought the driver might be her brother.
At the deputy’s instruction, she pulled into a church parking lot. Rhoads pulled up next to her, but something spooked him. He drove away, immediately pursued by other sheriff’s deputies.
After a two-mile chase, the Kia hit a fence post and Rhoads fled on foot. Deputies found Rhoads about an hour and a half later and arrested him without incident. He was wearing a T-shirt, white pants that came just below his knees, and socks but no shoes.
“It was a deal where both departments worked great together,” Stradley said, referring to the respective sheriff’s offices. “It was a hand-in-glove deal. That’s a good department down there.”
Brown County Sheriff’s investigators Brian Lundy and Jason Benefield were en route to Lawton Thursday afternoon to interview Rhoads, who remained in the Comanche County Jail, sheriff’s Capt. Tony Aaron said.
Sheriff’s investigators in Brown County still don’t know where Rhoads hid between the time he walked away from the Law Enforcement Center Sunday evening and — as alleged by sheriff’s officials — took the car from Oasis, Grubbs said.
The car was stolen sometime between 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. Wednesday, Grubbs said.
Before he escaped, Rhoads had been in the Brown County Jail for about eight months on burglary and larceny charges. He will face additional charges of escape, unauthorized use of a vehicle and burglary of a building charges in Brown County, and Oklahoma authorities are expected to file charges in their jurisdiction, Grubbs said.
Each agency is in the process of working out the details on prosecution and extradition over the next few days, Grubbs said.