Two Inmates On The Loose From Nelsonville Facility

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Two inmates who escaped a minimum security facility in Nelsonville are still at-large, according to officials.

Leonard Lowery

Zachariah Spires, 24; and Leonard Lowery, 32, escaped from the Southeastern Probation Treatment Alternative Correctional Facility (SEPTA) late Sunday night, according to Brenda Ostrander, spokesperson for SEPTA.

“We don’t have any information as to what direction they headed or where they might be,” said Scott Weaver, program director for the facility. “We also do not know whether they are still together or have separated.”

The two men escaped under a fence in a recreation area, according to Weaver,  shortly after a 6:30 p.m. security count. When the next count happened at 8:30 p.m., “staff miscounted,” Weaver said.

At another count an hour later, SEPTA personnel discovered the two were missing.

Weaver said investigators do not know if a motive for the escape

Leonard Lowery
Zachariah Spires

“We don’t have any information that they received some bad news or had any reason to feel they needed to escape,” Weaver said

Immediately after finding out the Spires and Lowery were missing, staff contacted the Nelsonville Police Department and 911 to send a “be on the look out” or BOLO to all regional law enforcement agencies.

Hocking College officials notified students and staff after they were notified. A spokesperson for the college said the campus community was “informed immediately and kept up-to-date.”

“In addition, all students and faculty were urged to remain vigilant and to report anything out of the ordinary,” Hocking College spokesperson Tim Brunicardi wrote in an email to WOUB.

Spires was convicted in Athens County of receiving stolen property and failure to comply, while Lowery was convicted of receiving stolen property in a Ross County case.

The two entered SEPTA on the same day, Jan. 4. They had served 39 days of a possible 180-day sentence, Weaver said.

The facility houses “non-violent, non-dangerous offenders who are eligible for parole” according to its website. While the inmates have scheduled times and are required to be in inside the facility no later than 9:30 p.m., they have more recreation time allowed during weekends, Weaver said.

Spires and Lowery are not considered a danger to the public, according to SEPTA.

“Their histories do not tend to show any violence,” Weaver said.

Spires and Lowery will face a charge of third-degree felony escape upon apprehension, Weaver said. They will also face community control violations for not completing their sentence at SEPTA.

Facility officials are still deciding whether disciplinary actions are necessary in the miscounting of inmates.