Bradley Gillespie (l) and James Lee (r) escaped from Allen Oakwood Correctional Facility

LIMA- On May 23, two inmates from the Allen Oakwood Correctional Facility were reported to have escaped. One of the inmates was Bradley Gillespie, convicted in 2016 of two murders in Paulding County. Authoriites tracked the escapees to Henderson, Kentucky, where Lee was captured. Gillespie remained at large until his body was found in the Ohio River.

There was some uncertainty when exactly James Lee and Bradley Gillespie escaped. Initially, it was believed they had escaped Tuesday morning, but in a press conference late that afternoon, it was revealed that the two inmates were last confirmed in the facility at 8:41 a.m. Monday morning. Despite a policy of seven counts of inmates scheduled through the day, their absence was not noticed until 11:00 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. the next day.

An investigation is still underway at the Allen Oakwood Correctional facility about this lapse in coverage. It has resulted in the removal of a Major and three correctional officers from active duty. It was also revealed through the investigation that the two escaped in a dumpster.

James Lee, 47, of Lima, OH was serving a sentence for burglary, breaking and entering and safecracking in Allen and Auglaize counties. Bradley Gillespie, 50, of Defiance, OH was serving two consecutive sentences for murder which would run a total of thirty years to life. Gillespie might be known to Paulding County residents since his conviction for the 2016 murders of Hannah Fischer and Frank Tracy, Jr. in Paulding County.

In the early hours of May 24, police in Henderson, Kentucky attempted to pull over a stolen car. They were led on a chase that ended when the stolen vehicle crashed in central Henderson. The occupants fled on foot and James Lee was apprehended. Gillespie was confirmed to have been the other occupant, and a manhunt began.

Later that morning, a piece of Gillespie’s clothing was found near a Henderson boat ramp. As late as 1 p.m., the search was continuing, involving a police helicopter. Since then there had been no sighting of Gillespie, although authorities believed him to still be in the vicinity of Henderson. Gillespie’s daughter put out a video plea for her father to turn himself in. Authorities also released video surveillance of Gillespie and Lee prior to Lee’s capture, showing the escapee with a noticeable limp.

In the end, Henderson police recovered a body, believed to be Gillespie, on Sunday afternoon after it was spotted by a boater on the Ohio River. The body is estimated to have been in the water for several days, coinciding with the last known location for Gillespie.

The results of an autopsy were not yet released as of press time, but officials were certain that the body was Gillespie, ending a nearly week-long manhunt, and ending a painful chapter in Paulding County history.