Escaped Cons Still on the Run

Train station employees report seeing escapee

Law officers formed a perimeter Thursday evening around a wooded area in Michigan City, Ind., where they believed one of two escaped prisoners from the Indiana State Prison was hiding out.

But after another extensive search, this time by more than 100 officers, 46-year-old Mark Booher and 45-year-old Lance Battreal remain at large.

Residents are getting so edgy, they're starting to see the cons everywhere.  One resident called in a tip that he'd spotted the three escapees -- but what he really saw was three U.S. Marshals wearing bulletproof vests who were searching the area.

The latest search began when two transit employees reported seeing a disheveled man walking out of the woods, and then quickly going back in near Michigan City's South Shore commuter train station, the Northwest Indiana Times reported.

Jim Lamm is one of the employees who spotted the escaped con. When he saw the man come out of the woods, then jump over the tracks and run back in, he went to check it out.

"I heard twigs breaking, but I didn't see anything," Lamm said. "There were SWAT teams, rifles, guns -- it was unbelievable!" Lamm said he hadn't ever seen anyone out in the woods in his 30 years at the yard before.

Booher and Battreal are a convicted murderer and rapist, respectively, and they are considered dangerous.

The Martin Luther King Center is keeping their young campers inside for a second day because of the escapees. It's close to the wooded area behind the train yard.

Wednesday's search was in Long Beach, Ind., just a few miles north of Michigan City.

Booher, Battreal and another man, Charles Smith, escaped from the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City on Sunday. Smith was recaptured on Monday near Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's vacation home in Grand Beach, Mich.

Indiana Department of Corrections Commissioner Edwin Buss said Wednesday that the trio escaped through tunnels that service the 149-year-old prison, and that three correctional officers assigned to supervise the inmates as they worked in them may have been negligent.  The correctional officers have been suspended pending the outcome of an internal investigation, though Buss said there's no reason to believe the guards were aware of the escape plans or were accomplices to them.

The tunnels have now been secured, and the prison remains on lockdown.

If you know anything about the escape or the escapees, authorities want to hear from you.  Tips can be submitted by calling a toll-free, anonymous hotline -- 1-800-78CRIME -- or online at  If the information leads to the felons' capture, the tipsters could receive up to $6,000, up from $1,000 a day earlier.


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