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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Michael D. Crews, Secretary


Press Release
August 12, 2008
For More Information
Contact: Gretl Plessinger
Communications Director
(850) 488-0420

Columbia Correctional Institution Inmate Recaptured in Tennessee

TALLAHASSEE -- A Florida inmate who escaped from a work detail outside the grounds of Columbia Correctional Institution in Lake City on Tuesday, August 5 was recaptured less than a week later in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.

The inmate, William Steele, 36, was serving time for burglary, grand theft, and fleeing and eluding law enforcement out of Duval county.

Investigators with the Florida Department of Corrections’ Inspector General’s Office developed leads identifying the vehicle Steele used to escape, and information about how the escape occurred. Further investigation revealed his general location and the IG’s office alerted the Goodlettsville (Tennessee) Police Department to their probable location. Steele was arrested Saturday afternoon, August 9, around 5 pm at a market in Davidson County, Tennessee. He was traveling with his girlfriend in a car she had borrowed. 

Steele is in a local jail in Tennessee and will be brought back to Florida and charged with escape. An investigation is continuing into how the escape occurred and who helped him. Further arrests are anticipated.

The following Prison Inspectors played a vital role in solving this escape. They are: Lead Case Investigator Joe Hamner, Dorothy Minta, Tony Nolan, Raleigh Sistrunk, David Chisholm, Jeri Hale, Steve Dean, Vicky Clemons, Joey Aretino and Donnie Jones, along with Region II's Inspector Supervisor Edward Rawls.

“Our inspectors did a great job in recapturing this escapee. This incident was brought to a peaceful conclusion due to the dedicated team effort by the involved inspectors who worked numbers of extra hours, sifted through large amounts of intelligence and developed and followed every lead until the inmate was captured,” said Rawls.