The search continues in Longview for a man who made a calculated run for freedom, escaping from the Gregg County jail. It happened around 12:30 this afternoon at the Gregg County Sheriff's Office on Whaley Street. Twice in the last two weeks, Longview police arrested 22-year-old Michael Atofey on assault with deadly weapon charges, and twice he bonded out.
Afotey was being booked into jail on robbery charges today at the south jail, when he saw other cuffed inmates being transferred, and quietly walked into their group as they got on an elevator.
"This was a bold move where he was able to mingle himself with the chain group that was being transferred from the south jail to the north jail. Obviously that's something we haven't experienced before," said Gregg County Sheriff, Maxey Cerliano.
On the ground floor, he bolted down Whaley St., and police chased him into a wooded area at a nearby railway but lost him in thick underbrush. K-9 units were called in and dozens of police units blanketed the area after witnesses spotted him.
"We have a lot of resources deployed, not only from the sheriff's office but Longview police, DPS.... we have been on his trail," the sheriff said.
But Afotey disappeared, he had cleverly gambled and used his knowledge how things were done in the jail, having been a regular visitor. To slip through the smallest crack.
"The investigation is preliminary into how he was able to get access into that group of inmates. The resources we have deployed are going to continue to be deployed until we locate him," Cerliano says.
Anyone with information on afotey whereabouts are asked to call crimestoppers.