A 22-year-old man is charged with assisting a criminal after allegedly trying to collect money for his cousin, a murder suspect who escaped from a transport van last week in Gary, Indiana.
Antorries Brown allegedly posed as Leon Taylor while communicating with an undercover officer on Facebook and asked the officer to send him money over Cash App so he could “make a move,” according to a probable cause affidavit from the Lake County state’s attorney’s office.
Taylor, also 22, escaped from a private transport van Dec. 14 in Gary while in the process of being extradited to Lake County from Texas, the Lake County sheriff’s office said. He is wanted on a murder charge for a homicide in East Chicago and remains at large. Authorities released a video of his escape last week.
On Dec. 18, a sheriff’s detective investigating whether Taylor had any outside help in eluding arrest after his escape used a fake Facebook account “of an attractive female” to message another account believed to belong to Taylor, the affidavit states.
Someone claiming he was Taylor’s “blood brother” replied to the message and requested a phone number so he could message or call, the affidavit states. The person also said Taylor “is hot right now and doesn’t want to chat on the Facebook app.”
The detective gave the person a female officer’s work number, and she started receiving text messages from someone who claimed he was Taylor and said “he needed a friend,” the affidavit states. The text messages continued and the person asked the undercover officer to send money to a Cash App account that belonged to Taylor.
Investigators found the number sending the texts had been used by Taylor or his associates in the past and traced it to a home in the 4200 block of Jackson Street in Gary, the affidavit states.
Authorities executed a search warrant at the home and arrested Brown after finding him there with the phone that was being used to solicit money for Taylor, the affidavit states.
Brown previously admitted that he is Taylor’s cousin, the affidavit states.
“Make no mistake. Anyone who helps Taylor will be arrested and brought to justice,” said Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. “The Lake County Sheriff’s Department is intensifying efforts to find this dangerous fugitive and we are using all resources at our disposal to bring him back into custody.”
The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to Taylor’s arrest, the sheriff’s office said.