Sheriff offers more details of escaped inmate in news conference


Where the inmate who escaped the Jackson County Jail may be remains unknown, but police believe he has stolen a pickup truck and could have fled the area.

Sheriff Rick Meyer said the department does not know the whereabouts of Daniel C. Coomer, 39, who escaped the jail Friday evening. 

“There’s no exact location of where the suspect is,” Meyer told media during a news conference late Saturday afternoon at the department. “We’re doing all we can to find him. I don’t think he’s in this area at the moment, but I’m not so sure he won’t come back to this area.”

Meyer said police are continuing to search the area and are working tips they have received. 

No family or friends in the county has heard from him, he said.

Meyer did say that family members told him that Coomer may have mental health illnesses.

Coomer exited the door around 8:40 p.m. Friday while in the recreation area with three other inmates and jail staff discovered he escaped around 9:10 p.m.

Around 11 p.m., a home was broken into in the 1100 block South County Road 50W. Meyer said the backdoor of the residence was kicked in and several officers searched the area for three hours but were unable to locate Coomer.

At 7:50 a.m. Saturday, a 1993 red Chevrolet pickup truck was reported stolen from a residents in the 3400 block South County 300E near Wegan. An all terrain vehicle had been stolen and left on its side about a half mile from the residence that was broken into. 

“We don’t have any reason to believe that he’s still not in that truck,” Meyer said. 

In footage of the escape, Meyer said it shows Coomer open the exterior door, left the jail and jump over the chain link fence with barbwire nearby.

Coomer then fled the south of the department, he said.

Coomer was being held at the Jackson County Jail on multiple charges including driving while suspended, possession of methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia, auto theft, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing endangerment and impersonation of a public servant.

He’s been held in the jail since June 4, according to jail records. 

Coomer is: 

39 years old


230 lbs

Has blue eyes and brown hair. 

Police believe he is driving a 1993 Cherovlet red pickup truck with an In God We Trust Indiana license plate with the number SXQ132.

The door Coomer used to escape was one that Meyer said would only be used to evacuate the recreational room in the event of an emergency. He said he was “very concerned” that it was open and his agency continues to investigate why it was unlocked. 

“There would be no reason for that door to be unlocked,” he said. “Myself, my jail commander and detectives are still checking locks and computers and find out why that door was unlocked.”

Meyer said police are looking at every possibility about how Coomer was able to escape through that door. 

It’s unclear whether there was a human error, a glitch in the software system or any other reason the door was unlocked and that part of the case remains under investigation, Meyer said.

“We’re going to look into every possibility,” he said. “I’m very concerned that that door was open. There’s no reason it should have been open.”

When asked by the media if he thought it was possible Coomer was assisted by a staff member, Meyer said that even was a scenario police were considering. 

“If this was intentionally done, this person would be held accountable and it’s possible they could face charges,” he said. “Even if it’s not intentional, then it’s not a good mistake to have. Having a 245-person jail and being the sheriff of that county, that’s not something I ever wanted to see while I was sheriff.”

Had the door been adjar, Meyer said the central control room would have shown it was open. He said the only way to use the door is if someone hit a button to open it or the large, heavy key. 

Meyer said if residents see Coomer, they should consider him dangerous.

“He’s escaped from a jail, so obviously he’s desperate,” he said. “If the police locate him, he’s probably going to do whatever he can to stay out of jail.” 

For now, Meyer said residents should get a good look at Coomer’s picture and contact authorities if they believe they see him.

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