DEXTER – An inmate who fled the Charleston Correctional Facility was back in custody Wednesday after he turned himself in to a police officer.
Stanley Wetmore, 39, of Auburn approached Dexter police Officer Alan Grinnell at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, identified himself as a prison escapee and was arrested, police Chief Art Roy said.
Wetmore was discovered missing from the Charleston facility at 10:58 p.m. Monday, according to Chief Administrative Officer Stephen Berry. The inmate was present in his dormitory room when a routine inmate count was taken at 10 p.m., but was gone when a follow-up count was taken at 10:58 p.m. he said Wednesday.
“He basically crawled out of a window and left,” Berry said.
An intensive search for Wetmore was conducted by crews from the correctional facility Monday night until mid-Tuesday. Maine State Police, Maine Warden Service, sheriff’s departments from Piscataquis and Penobscot counties and area police assisted.
Berry said the search was halted Tuesday afternoon because it was believed Wetmore had left the area. “We had exceptionally good response from the staff” during the search, he said.
Wetmore had been sentenced to 15 years in prison with all but eight years suspended on charges of aggravated assault and burglary. He was transferred from Downeast Correctional Facility in Bucks Harbor to the Charleston facility in July. He would have been eligible for release on Dec. 6, 2005.
Wetmore could now be required to fulfill the suspended sentence and could face up to five years of incarceration on an escape charge. He has been transferred to the Maine State Prison in Warren.
“He made a poor decision based on nothing,” Berry said. “He just decided he didn’t want to be here.” Wetmore told Charleston authorities after his capture that he had planned to visit a relative elsewhere in the state, then realized he had made a mistake. The Auburn man waited for the Dexter Police Department to open Wednesday so he could turn himself in, according to Berry.
Charleston officials conducted an investigation into Wetmore’s escape and found that all the proper procedures had been followed. “We couldn’t find where anything could have been done differently,” Berry said.
Wetmore was the first escapee from the facility in the past five years. An inmate walked away from a work detail at last year’s National Folk Festival in Bangor and was recaptured in Rhode Island.