TOP STORY OF THE DAY Brought to you FREE by WICU: Biddy in custody as CCSD review protocols
The recent escape of an inmate from the Clay County Justice Center has caused the Clay County Sheriff’s Department some grief.
“This is something that should have never happened, but it did happen, and now we have to deal with it,” said Chief Deputy Josh Clarke about the capture of escapee Timothy Alan Biddy late Tuesday.
Biddy, who was an inmate worker at the jail, escaped from the facility Sunday around 10:45 p.m. while outside emptying trash with another unidentified inmate and a corrections officer. Officials said the corrections officer stayed with the one inmate and called for backup assistance.
Clarke confirmed the call for assistance went out to jail staff members, on-duty deputies, and officers with the Brazil Police Department and Indiana State Police troopers in the area.
“There were multiple officers from various agencies out canvassing the area looking for Biddy right away,” said Clarke. “We immediately able to scour the area. Then we began to investigate what happened, as well as search for Biddy.”
Biddy fled from the Justice Center on foot, traveling west, wearing a white T-shirt, striped pants, white socks, and black sandals. However, he was able to evade detection in the darkness.
Details about Biddy’s escape went out to local media outlets and the public was advised he was considered on the run and “dangerous.” The public was asked to report any information about Biddy’s whereabouts; however, there weren’t many calls initially.
Clarke said lead investigators believed Biddy didn’t run to anyone in the area during that first night.
“Two investigations were going on at the same time: A criminal one because Biddy escaped, and a second internal investigation to determine what happened and why it happened,” said Clarke, who said the criminal investigation determined Biddy acted on his own. “Biddy was facing a lot of extensive and serious prison time, and we believe he just ran.”
Clarke said investigators reviewed phone calls in and out of jail and checked any written documents involving Biddy before his escape.
“He hadn’t communicated with anyone,” said Clarke. “We believed that night, and he devised this plan to escape without the help of anyone. He felt like he didn’t have anything left to lose.”
The Terre Haute Police, Vigo County Sheriff’s Department, and Drug Task Force, US Marshall’s Office, worked with local law enforcement officers and detectives in multiple jurisdictions to track Biddy.
Meanwhile, Clarke headed up the internal investigation at the jail, which included reviewing the facility’s protocols and rules. The jail staff was interviewed, and video footage and radio communications were reviewed.
“It was concluded there was no involvement by the staff during the escape, no foul play, no assistance given to Biddy during the escape,” said Clarke, who said there were discrepancies in work performance and following procedures/protocols discovered that ultimately led to the unidentified correctional officer’s termination Tuesday. “This is something that never should have happened, and obviously, a problem occurred, and we had an escapee. As a department, we reached out to the community, put it out there for the public to see, asking for their assistance.”
A tip lead law enforcement to look for a specific type of car in Terre Haute Tuesday around 6 p.m. ISP later located Biddy, and a traffic stop was attempted. Biddy initially refused to stop but did surrender in an area near 25th Street and Beech without further incident.
While being taken into custody, Biddy allegedly told officers he evaded law enforcement long enough to make it to Interstate 70 Sunday and began hitchhiking west to St. Louis, where he stole a car and returned to the Terre Haute area. Biddy told officers he wanted to say goodbye to family members and planned to return to custody.
Although initially announced Biddy would be returned to the CCJC; instead, he was transported and booked into the Vigo County Jail.
Biddy has a list of charges, including Burglary (F5), Burglary breaks and enters, and Theft stemming from a Terre Haute City Police case in November 2019, and new charges filed by ISP from the Tuesday incident of Possession of marijuana - a first-time offense with less than 30 gams, Auto theft, Reckless driving, and Resisting law enforcement. Biddy is awaiting formal court proceedings in Division 1 Superior Court.
Clarke confirmed Clay Superior Court issued a felony escape warrant on Monday, which will lead to Biddy’s transfer to CCJC to appear in court for the warrant.
However, Biddy has appeared in Clay Circuit Court since January on warrant charges stemming from an October case including level 4 felony Burglary, level 6 Residential entry, four counts of level 6 Theft of a firearm, level 6 Theft with the value of the property between $750-$50,000, and level A misdemeanor charges of Criminal mischief with damage between $750-$50,000.
On July 27, Biddy last appeared in the local court for a failed bond reduction hearing (set in January at $25,000 with no 10 percent allowed). Afterward, he was returned to the custody of the CCJC staff to await a jury trial in September.
“Our obligation to the community is that they stay safe, and part of doing that is making sure our policies and procedures at the jail are in tip-top shape where situations like this don’t happen,” said Clarke. “It’s unacceptable that it happened, but it did, and now we have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Inmate workers, also known as “trustees” by the public, provide a valuable service to the facility, such as doing inmate laundry, working in the kitchen during the three mealtimes, and providing various cleaning services throughout the day, including gathering trash, mowing the yard around the facility or other projects in the community. Correctional officers oversee inmate workers whenever they are outside their cellblock. To become a “trustee,” inmates are vetted to determine if they can be trusted.
“It’s hard to admit when things go wrong,” said Clarke. “But we are taking this as an opportunity to review all of the jail and department protocols and make sure something like this will never happen again.”