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Iowa inmate escaped custody twice since spring

<i>KCCI</i><br/>Austin Wheeler
Austin Wheeler

By Kayla James

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    POLK COUNTY, Iowa (KCCI) — An Iowa inmate has escaped custody twice in the last two months, first in Fort Dodge and then in Warren County.

Austin Wheeler, 20, of Indianola, was in a transitional center in Fort Dodge prior to March 27. Court documents show that on March 27, he signed himself out in the afternoon and did not return.

Documents show that a warrant was issued for his arrest.

On April 6, over a week later, Wheeler was arrested. The case was dismissed on April 8.

Court documents show that on May 26 in Indianola, Wheeler was arrested again for a drug charge.

According to a criminal complaint, police say Wheeler had a warrant out of Fort Dodge for his escape. Police were told he would be at the Burger King in Indianola in a specific car. Police located the car, and an officer performed a traffic stop. Wheeler was located in the backseat of the car and eventually took off running.

The complaint says that as Wheeler was running he tripped and police arrested him. Police also found marijuana in his car. Police say that the car’s driver and another passenger in the car told them that Wheeler bought the marijuana the night before and sold some of it that day.

Wheeler was in custody for three days. Court documents show that on May 29, Wheeler was being treated at Mercy One Newton. He managed to escape from a Warren County employee and run away.

According to the Warren County Sherriff’s Office, the employee Wheeler has escaped from has not been terminated, but they are being disciplined.

Warren County Sherriff told KCCI Wheeler was arrested the next day in Grundy County, Missouri.

Wheeler is currently being held at the Polk County Jail.

KCCI reached out to the Iowa Department of Corrections on Wednesday afternoon. We have not heard back.

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