Sept. 13, 2004 – Escaped prisoner Manuel Melendez is back in jail today after eluding law enforcement officials for almost three months. He was captured at approximately 12:01 a.m. Monday in the Harvey housing community and taken into custody without incident. Melendez and Suhmied Morris escaped from the Golden Grove Correctional Facility on June 19 by cutting a hole in a chain link fence surrounding the facility and fleeing through a field. Morris was arrested hours later in the vicinity of his girlfriend's residence.
Territorial Police Chief Novelle Francis Jr. issued a press release on Monday announcing the arrest of Melendez. Francis said members of the Anti-Burglary Squad responded to reports from concerned citizens who observed the escapee in the area of Profit Hills Housing Community, commonly known as Harvey project. That information led officers to check the area on Sunday evening, Francis said, and after surveillance Melendez was located in the vicinity of Building No. 11.
Judge Edgar D. Ross determined that no bail be set for Melendez and remanded him to Golden Grove Correctional Facility.
Melendez had been sighted several times in the Harvey area since his escape. His mother and his girlfriend, reportedly, live in the area. According to Sgt. Thomas Hannah, police spokesman, Melendez could have altered his appearance. "People were saying that he dyed his hair blonde." However, Hannah confirmed Monday that Melendez had not altered his appearance.
Francis thanked the officers of the burglary task force for the work they did capturing Melendez. Francis also gave credit to the community for providing the information that led to the capture of the escapee saying, "It is with your cooperation that we are able to arrest the perpetrators of criminal offences."
Francis reminded the public to call the Crime Hotlines at 777-8711 in St. Thomas and 778-4950 in St. Croix with information on criminal activity.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.
Publisher's note : Like the St. Croix Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice… click here.