A Florida murder suspect remains at large while his girlfriend and three others have been arrested in what authorities say was a plot to help him escape, the Associated Press reports.
According to the report, the suspect, Dayonte Resiles, disappeared Friday after running from a courtroom. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said that Resiles' girlfriend, LaQuay Stern, 18, parked her car under a bridge next to the Broward County Courthouse and waited there with 22-year-old Winston Russell.
At the same time, two 17-year-old twin brothers waited in the courtroom where Resiles had been waiting for a hearing on whether he would face the death penalty in his case. Resiles is charged with murder in the death of a member of the Halliburton business family almost two years ago during a home-invasion robbery, AP reports. The body of Jill Halliburton Su, the grand-niece of Halliburton Co. founder Erie P. Halliburton, was found, bound at the hands and feet, with several stab wounds, in her Davie, Fla., home.
Resiles, 21, reportedly slipped out of his handcuffs and ankle shackles and ran for the courtroom door. At the same time, authorities say, at least one of the twins coughed into a cellphone as a way to signal to Stern and Russell that Resiles was on his way.
Resiles took off his jail jumpsuit in the hallway before running out of a courthouse door into Stern's car. Authorities say that Russell gave Resiles street clothes before Stern and Russell drove him to an apartment, from which he later disappeared.
Israel said that the search for Resiles continues, mostly focused on South Florida, although a nationwide alert has been issued. Rewards of up to $20,000 are being offered for his capture.
"The fact that Resiles remains at large tells me that there are others aiding and abetting in his escape," Israel said.
It is believed, according to arrest documents, that the escape was planned during phone calls and visitations between Resiles, Stern and Russell. Stern and Russell confessed to the plan to investigators, according to the documents.
Both Stern and Russell face charges of escape and accessory after the fact to capital murder and are being held without bond at the Broward County Jail. The twin brothers face the same charges as juveniles.
Although there is nothing to indicate that Resiles received help from a guard or law enforcement, an internal-affairs investigation also has been opened, Israel said. Some of the focus will be on how Resiles was able to remove his handcuffs and shackles.
"There is only two ways to get out of cuffs—either they weren't put on tight or you have a cuff key," Israel said.