Fla. Inmate Escapes Via Helicopter
Jun. 05, 2000
INDIANTOWN, Fla. (AP) _ An inmate at a prison for sex offenders escaped Monday aboard a helicopter that landed inside the walls of the facility and flew him away.
The helicopter cleared the wall of the Martin Treatment Center around 1 p.m. before crashing in a citrus grove about 100 yards away. The inmate, Steven Whitsett, 28, and the pilot ran off, and police were searching the area, said Jenell Atlas, a sheriff's spokeswoman.
Two gun holsters were found beside the helicopter
``We do consider them armed and dangerous, and frankly, desperate,'' Atlas said.
The center is about 35 miles northwest of West Palm Beach.
Whitsett was convicted in 1994 of a sexual assault on a child, and his prison sentence ended in September. He was being held in the Martin center while awaiting a hearing on whether he should be locked up indefinitely for psychiatric treatment.