Authorities: Escaped Ohio inmate seeking water when caught

CINCINNATI (AP) — A convicted murder captured about 24 hours after he was found missing from an Ohio prison apparently didn’t have an escape plan, authorities said Tuesday.

John Modie was captured on Monday night at an abandoned Nelsonville gas station as he was trying to get into a fast-food restaurant to get water, patrol spokesman Sgt. Vincent Shirey said Tuesday.

“He just escaped and apparently didn’t know where he was going or what he was going to do,” Shirey said.

The 58-year-old inmate, who was serving time for the murder of a woman at his home in 2002, was found missing Sunday night from the Hocking Unit of the Southeastern Correctional Complex in Nelsonville.

Shirey said he didn’t know details of how Modie escaped, but said he apparently happened upon an opportunity and took it. Authorities said Modie was captured without incident.

The State Highway Patrol is conducting the criminal investigation and the state Department of Rehabilitation and Correction will review policies and procedures relative to the escape, corrections department spokesman Grant Doepel said Tuesday.

Modie was not returned to the Nelsonville prison, which houses about 450 inmates classified at the lower- to medium-security level. He was taken to the maximum-security Southern Ohio Correctional facility outside Lucasville in southern Ohio.

Doepel said the department’s placement of prisoners looks at criminal offenses and prison behavior.

“When looking at him, we took into account his prior offenses and also the good behavior he had exerted at times during his incarceration,” Doepel said.

Despite being a lower-security level prison, the Hocking Unit does have the double fencing that surrounds higher security prisons, noted Doepel, who said he couldn’t comment details on the investigation of how Modie escaped.

Modie was serving 18 years to life for convictions on murder, robbery and escape charges.

He was accused of beating to death Ucianna Ortiz at his Cleveland home in October 2002 and dumping her body along an interstate in Cleveland. Authorities have said he was arrested in Texas while driving a stolen car.

Modie, who was accused of walking away from the Cuyahoga County jail following his arrest, pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to prison in December 2003.

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