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ESCAPED INMATE FROM UTAH PRISON CAUGHT NEAR RENO

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An inmate who walked away from a prison work farm early Saturday is back in custody - in Winnemucca, Nev.

Steven Michael Stillings, 38, who was listed as missing about 8:30 a.m. Saturday after an hourly check of his work detail at the prison's dairy farm, was apprehended by the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department and Nevada Highway Patrol east of Reno at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, said Will Fowlke, director of the Enforcement and Investigations Bureau of the Department of Corrections.Believed to have walked away about 7:30 a.m., Stillings and two women, Raelene Stilson, 26, and Brenda Ponciroli, were arrested without incident by Nevada law officers acting on a vehicle description of Stilson's car.

Stilson, a Utah Department of Corrections parolee, is believed to have aided Stillings in the walkaway, Fowlke said. Ponciroli, a passenger in the vehicle, was arrested for investigation of possession of stolen property and drug paraphernalia.

Stillings had been working at the dairy, about 300 yards from the north gate of the prison compound, since 1987 and was considered a trusty. He knew the area and prison routines well, said Gerald Cook, director of Institutional Operations at the prison.

"He just took advantage of a situation . . . It's a matter of just hiking off through the fields."

The Portland, Ore., native was serving a 1-to-15-year sentence for three counts of robbery and had been incarcerated since February 1985.

Stillings and the two women were attempting to go to Alameda, Calif., where Stillings has relatives, Fowlke said. All three face extradition to Utah.