Law enforcement unsure whether escapee had help; investigation continues

Published 12:54 pm Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Taylor, 43, of Columbus escaped the Polk County Courthouse on March 11 prior to court proceedings beginning. Taylor had been found guilty the day before by a jury on charges of possession of a firearm by a felon. Taylor was awaiting sentencing on that charge as well as sentencing on being an habitual felon when he escaped.

Investigators now think that when Taylor escaped the courthouse he ran across downtown Columbus to U.S. 74 and may have hid out in the Holbert&squo;s Cove area of the county.

The sheriff&squo;s office, along with other area agencies extensively searched Polk County for Taylor throughout the day and night and gradually released officers as days passed.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

At some points the sheriff&squo;s office thought Taylor may have fled the area as Taylor&squo;s recent escape was his third while in Polk&squo;s custody over many years. The last time Taylor escaped he was found in Arizona.

After putting Taylor on national lists of wanted persons, the sheriff&squo;s office got a tip several days after Taylor&squo;s escape from within Polk County. The sheriff&squo;s office waited for another call after Taylor had been spotted in the Fox Mountain Road area during the day. The sheriff&squo;s office got a call from Levi Road residents that Taylor was in their home and officers stormed the home and arrested Taylor around 12:15 a.m. on March 20. Taylor claimed that he had lived on grub worms and crawdads, according to investigators and the sheriff&squo;s office is now trying to figure out when and how Taylor obtained the survival supplies.

Taylor is currently being held at the N.C. Department of Corrections in Marion and now faces the possession of a firearm by a felon and habitual offender sentencing as well as felony escape from local jail.

Taylor was previously facing 14 years in prison for the habitual felon and possession of a firearm by a felon. No estimates have yet been made as to what Taylor will now face after escaping.

Taylor will face a judge on April 8 for the felony escape local jail charges and is scheduled to be in superior court on May 2 for the sentencing of habitual felon and possession of a firearm by a felon.