OGDEN — Police said a 16-year-old murder suspect escaped the 2nd District Courthouse by slipping under a garage door and then freeing himself with a handcuff key that he'd smuggled with him.
The boy was recaptured a few blocks away, Weber County sheriff's deputies told the Deseret Morning News.
The escape attempt happened at 2:35 p.m. Thursday when a deputy was transporting the 16-year-old from the Farmington Bay Youth Center to the courthouse.
"Our deputy pulled into the sally port, and a control officer had to lower the bay door," Weber County Sheriff's Capt. Klint Anderson said. "Our deputy hit the release on the minivan door to get the kid. The kid then forced the door open and bailed out."
Just seconds before the sally port door rolled shut, deputies said, the teen rolled under it. The deputy called on his radio for help as the door was reopened.
"He saw the kid with the handcuff on one wrist and one ankle," Anderson said, adding that the teen had originally been shackled at his wrists and ankles and had a chain around his waist.
Deputies caught up with the teen in the parking lot of a church at Lincoln Avenue and 27th Street. As they handcuffed him again, Anderson said, deputies discovered a handcuff key in his pocket.
Where the boy got that key is now the subject of several investigations.
"We do know our deputy searched the vehicle before he put the kid in," Anderson said. "He's insisting he searched the van carefully and searched the kid. The key is only 2 inches long. It's a very small key. We should have caught it during the search and we didn't."
Anderson said investigators are now questioning the teen, who deputies said is facing charges of murder and aggravated robbery in a gang-related shooting in Ogden.
Officials at the privately run Farmington Bay Youth Center in Davis County said they are also investigating where the teen got the key. Farmington Bay director Tony Hassell said they are reviewing security tapes and questioning staff members.
"We're still trying to find out about the key," he said Thursday. "Right now, we don't know whose key it was. We're finding out."
Weber County sheriff's deputies said security surrounding the teen will also be increased when transporting him for future court appearances.