Lake County police said officers are "intensifying efforts" to find the murder suspect still at-large after escaping from a transport van in Gary, Indiana last week.
“Make no mistake. Anyone who helps [Leon] Taylor will be arrested and brought to justice,” Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. said. “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.”
Leon Taylor, 22, made his escape about 3 p.m. Monday while the van was stopped at a McDonald’s at 35th and Grant streets in Gary, the Lake County sheriff’s office said in a statement.
On Dec. 18, the Lake County Sheriff's Department said officers arrested Taylor's cousin to aid in the "nationwide manhunt."
“I am extremely encouraged by the work of Lake County Sheriff’s Department investigators who used their knowledge and expertise with social media to arrest 22-year-old Antorries Brown, who has stated he is Leon Taylor’s cousin,” Martinez said.
According to officials, the U.S. Marshals Service is assisting with the search and offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to Taylor's arrest.
Last week, authorities released video showing the moment Taylor escaped from the transport van in Indiana.
The video shows the van stopped at the restaurant’s drive-thru when Taylor, who appears to be handcuffed, opens the back seat and flees. Moments later, the driver gets out of the car and runs after him.
Taylor is wanted on a murder charge for a homicide in East Chicago and was in the process of being extradited to Lake County from Texas by an agent from REDI Transports, the sheriff’s office said.
“This driver initially told our officers the suspect jumped out of a window, but the video clearly shows him exiting through a door to the vehicle,” Martinez said. “We are looking into this matter as part of an extensive review of the case.”
“I find it appalling that REDI Transports failed to use appropriate caution and may have put the public at risk,” Martinez added.
Taylor is 6 feet tall, 162 pounds with hazel eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing a gray hoodie, black Puma tennis shoes, black jeans and a belly chain with handcuffs, the sheriff’s office said.
He is considered to be dangerous, the sheriff’s office said.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911.