Escaped Cullman County inmate caught by Hanceville resident

Escaped Cullman County inmate caught by Hanceville resident
Leo Chavez was recaptured in Hanceville after he escaped from the Cullman County Jail (Source: HPD)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - On Friday, Leo Chavez, a man convicted of murdering his own parents, is back in custody.

He’s been on the run for just over 24 hours after escaping from the Cullman County Jail, and Friday night, it all came to an end with a citizen’s arrest.

Hanceville resident Lawrence Baker said he found Chavez in his own backyard.

From the jail to Hanceville, that means Chavez made it about 10 miles away from the jail.

He was the last man of four to be recaptured after an escape that seems like it was right out of a movie, jumping from the jail roof.

Baker said his family and neighbors surrounding the jail will sleep better tonight knowing a man convicted of murdering his own parents is back behind bars.

“I had just sat down to eat my supper and I saw someone walking in the road had a jacket over his head and looked suspicious,” Baker said. “I grabbed my gun and I asked him if he was the one they were looking for and he said yes sir and I said you need to come down here and get down on the gravel.”

That brought an end to hours of searching with multiple agencies working together, and even a high speed chase.

Now all four inmates who escaped from the Cullman County Jail on Thursday night are back behind bars.

“They have 24 hours a day, seven days a week to think about how they are going to get out and do these things,” said Sheriff Matt Gentry.

Neighbors who live less than a mile away from the jail are now breathing a sigh of relief.

“It can be a little scary at first living in close proximity to the jail less than a mile away,” said one neighbor.

Meanwhile, another neighbor who did time with some of the escapees feels no one should blame jail staff.

“I personally have done time and I’ve done time there. It’s not their fault. The people who are work there work very hard,” he said.

“In the shower areas of the cell blocks there’s a vent they got loose. They got up in that area and they were able to start breaking out brick and got it pushed out and slid out of it and dropped two stories,” Sheriff Gentry said explaining how the escape happened.

Chavez is back in custody Friday night inside the Cullman County Jail, but it’s important to note he was supposed to be in prison.

Transfers to state prison has slowed because of COVID.

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