Delaware County Inmate Escape Renews Plans to Expand Jail

by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

MANCHESTER, Iowa - As the search continues for an escaped Delaware County Jail inmate, efforts are also underway to prevent another escape.
Authorities say 20 year-old Timothy Reynolds escaped from the Delaware County jail this past Sunday by beating up the jailer and stealing his car.

Reynolds is considered dangerous. He was in jail on several charges, including armed robbery and assault with a dangerous weapon. Police found the car he allegedly stole in Cedar Rapids just hours after his escape, but no sign of Reynolds.

That escape is now renewing calls to improve the aging Delaware County jail. County leaders are discussing a $4 million bond to pay for a jail expansion project.

Across the street from the Delaware County jail, Russell Goodman lives with four children and is following the search for a missing inmate closely.

Goodman said, "I probably would have called the police, but I didn't see nothing. I was standing right out here and I didn't see a thing. That stuff is terrible right there. "

The Delaware County Sheriff says an aging and overcrowded jail may have made the escape easier.

The sheriff says Reynolds was standing near a temporarily unlocked door with a jailer, making a phone call when he hit the jailer in the head, knocking him out. He escaped through the door, then ran out the unlocked public entrance.

Delaware County Supervisor Jeff Madlom said, "we had an isolated event with a subject who is not as trustworthy as most inmates. "

The current jail was built in the 1960's for the Sheriff and 2 deputies. Now 12 deputies work there. The number of inmates is growing with crime on the rise.

Madlom said, "It appears to be developing worse and worse all the time and so our jail is getting fuller all the time. "

During Wednesday's Delaware County elected officials luncheon, the inmate escape is part of the chatter over dinner rolls.

Madlom said, "This brings everything to a new light when you have somebody escape. I can tell you that our Sheriff and the deputies are just sick about this. "

County officials had talked about jail improvements for years, but the those plans had been put on hold.

Madlom said, "Part of the trouble is we had a dam failure that's taken a lot of our time in the past two years. "

Madlom insists the jail is secure for now, but knows it needs major improvements.

Delaware County Sheriff, John LeClere says there was only one jailer working when Reynolds escaped. Supervisors are also looking to move funds that would allow for more than one jailer to be on duty at a time.
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