Man who escaped Ohio jail could be in Michigan

The Detroit News
Don Ellis

Authorities in Ohio are searching for a man who was accidentally released from jail because of mistaken identity and have opened their dragnet to include Michigan.

Don Woodson Ellis Jr., 28, who was arrested Monday for a bank robbery in Toledo, used an ID bracelet at the Lucas County Corrections Center from an inmate named Antoine Moore to leave the facility Wednesday night because that person was slated to be released on a small paid bond.

"They actually exchanged information, changed identities essentially so he got bonded out," Lucas County Sheriff Capt. Matt Luettke said. "He pretended he was Mr. Moore and left. We thought we were releasing Mr. Moore, but we were actually releasing Mr. Ellis."

The FBI is leading the manhunt with help from Lucas County Sheriff's Office and Toledo Crime Stoppers. Officials said Ellis "should be considered dangerous," and that there is a reward for apprehended the suspect.

No one knew Ellis was missing until Thursday morning, police said.

Luettke said Moore was also released from jail but later apprehended for helping another inmate escape.

"I firmly believe that this was a conspiracy, and Mr. Moore was complicit in Mr. Ellis' escape," he said.

Authorities believe Ellis could be headed toward some major cities in the region such as Columbus, Cleveland or Detroit to hide out.

"It wasn't just necessarily just Michigan," Luettke said. "We gave it a broader net than that."

Anyone who sees Ellis should call the Lucas County Sheriff's office at (419) 243-5111 or Toledo Crime Stoppers at (419) 255-1111.