FAYETTE COUNTY, Tenn. — A search is underway for three detainees who escaped from a Fayette County youth detention facility.
According to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, the three 17-year-olds escaped the Wilder Youth Development Center in Somerville around 1 a.m. Wednesday. It’s unclear how they escaped or if they had any help once outside the facility.
“Our deputies are in the area actively trying to search for these escapees,” said Chief Deputy Ray Garcia with the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office.
By law, authorities cannot identify the juveniles or give any identifying information. However, they did tell us that two are from the Memphis area and the other is from Chattanooga. One of the juveniles has also managed to escape in the past.
They also revealed that the juveniles have violent histories, having been detained on homicide, aggravated robbery and theft of property charges.
Deputies are actively searching the scene and encouraged those in the area to be cautious. Fayette County deputies tightened security in the areas such as nearby schools and telling homeowners to keep their doors locked.
“We are asking that residents make sure that their vehicles are locked and that no keys are left in the ignition of any vehicle and that they’re keep their homes locked,” Garcia said. “In previous escapes we’ve had instances where individuals attempted to steal or did steal a vehicle to flee the area.”
WREG has learned the Wilder Youth Development Center has had several security problems in recent months. Five teens escaped from the facility back in May. Five more broke out in November of last year leading to another near escape days later.
“There have been several escapes over the past year. I know there was one, I believe, about two months ago where we had several youths escape,” Garcia said.
The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office says it’s not sure what protocols have been put into place by the State of Tennessee to close the door on future escapes at Wilder.
“Anything would be welcomed to give us information that would lead to getting these individuals back in custody,” Garcia said.
If you know anything about this case, call the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office at 901-465-3456.