Wyatt Detention Center officers put on administrative leave after inmate escapes

Mathew BarnettJan 05, 2017

A round-the-clock state and federal manhunt was underway Monday for an inmate who escaped from a Rhode Island detention center.

Police said within in an hour Morales fled to Attleborough, where he stole a vehicle.

"He escaped in an area where there is a fence separating the detention center's property from some railroad tracks", said Massachusetts State Police spokesperson Dave Procopio.

A pair of bloody prison trousers was found on train tracks nearby, leading authorities to believe Morales injured himself on the fence. Two individuals assigned to the area Morales escaped from have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Former Army reservist James Morales remains at large.

Martin says the last escape from the detention center was in 1996. The FBI said he stole assault rifles and handguns from an armory in Worcester, Mass., in 2015.


Investigators are analyzing numerous leads and have gathered information "from several locations Mr. Morales may have visited since his escape, as well as from evidence seized by law enforcement", the US Marshals said in a statement.

The search for Morales is now focusing on Framingham after the discovery of the auto. They found six of the stolen weapons, and police later recovered three of the other guns.

Morales was arrested previous year for stealing 16 guns from an Army Reserve center in Worcester.

Morales also faces child rape charges.

"It is extremely concerning that the safety and welfare of our city residents were placed in jeopardy due to this incident", said Central Falls Mayor James A. Diossa, who appoints the five-member board that oversees the facility.

Morales is described as a 6-foot-1-inch, 180-pound African-American with brown eyes and black hair. He is bald and has an eagle tattoo on the left side of his neck.

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