Wyatt escapee indicted by federal grand jury

Captured: State police arrest escaped Wyatt inmate »

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A former Army reservist who broke out of a Central Falls detention center on New Year’s Eve has been indicted on a federal escape charge, the office of U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha announced Tuesday.

James Morales, 35, was captured in Somerville on Jan. 5 after several days on the run.

The indictment handed up by a federal grand jury in Providence charges Morales with escape from the custody of the attorney general.

Morales was being held at Wyatt as he awaited trial. He’s accused of stealing guns from an Army Reserve facility in Worcester in 2015.

Authorities said Morales broke out of the facility by scaling a basketball hoop in the rec yard and using a bed sheet to climb over a fence covered in barbed wire.

Evidence photos show scene of Wyatt escape »
Evidence photos show scene of Wyatt escape »

According to the police report, surveillance video shows Morales making his escape at about 6:30 p.m. but correctional officers did not realize he was missing until the 10:30 p.m. inmate count.

A supervisor and three correctional officers were placed on administrative leave in the wake of the escape. An investigation into the incident is underway.

Morales’ escape set off a multi-state manhunt that lasted five days. The search intensified on Jan. 5 after police said a man matching his description attempted to rob banks in Somerville and Cambridge. He was apprehended later that day.

Neronha’s office said Morales is scheduled to be arraigned on the federal charge in court on Thursday.

The charge, according to Neronha’s office, is punishable by up to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised released and a fine of up to $250,000.