Inmate Who Escaped At Hospital Is Captured In Brainerd; Woman Who Harbored Him Is Arrested

Monday, July 8, 2019
Anthony Labron Bell
Anthony Labron Bell

Authorities said late Monday afternoon the inmate who escaped while being treated at the hospital has been captured. Later, authorities arrested a woman who let him stay at her apartment. Lashonda D. Kirkwood, 31, was charged with accessory after the fact.

Law enforcement had searched for Anthony Labron Bell throughout the night and continuing on Monday.

He was found around 5 p.m. at the Kirkwood apartment in the 700 block of North Germantown Road.

Authorities said he still had his handcuffs on, though he had managed to break the chain.

He was not in a blue T-shirt and blue jeans as expected since those items were missing from a store he burglarized.

Bell was charged with felony escape and aggravated burglary.

He was taken to the jail and given a medical assessment.

Officials said earlier Monday, "After meeting with staff and inventorying clothing items at Professional Industrial Tire, it appears Bell may be wearing clothes belonging to one of their staff.

"The HCSO is attempting to pull video surveillance of his escape at Erlanger and his break-in at Professional Industrial Tire. However, efforts to pull footage at both locations have not been successful due to technology issues with camera systems adding additional delays to the investigation. Despite these issues, HCSO Fugitive Detectives diligently continue efforts to obtain the video footage. Once the video has been obtained, we will release it to the public."

Bell, who has a record for repeated armed robberies as well as statutory rape, escaped custody on Sunday morning while receiving medical treatment at Erlanger Hospital. He was at the hospital "due to a medical event that required further evaluation and treatment."

At the time of the escape, he was handcuffed and guarded by Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Correctional personnel. Bell ran away from his room and treatment area. He "managed to escape from the officers' custody and view. He eventually absconded to the outside of the hospital." 

The escape happened at approximately 6:30 a.m.

At approximately 2 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to Professional Industrial Tire located at 1532 Riverside Dr. for the report of a commercial burglary. Upon arrival, Chattanooga Police determined that the business had been burglarized. Upon further investigation, CPD personnel located the hospital gown and identification bracelet of escaped inmate Anthony Labron Bell.

Even though his handcuffs were not located, law enforcement personnel believe that Bell may have been able to find the tools necessary to either remove them or at least cut the chain. Due to the availability of various types of work clothes located in the business, officials said they were not able to give an accurate description of what Bell is wearing at this time.

Chief Deputy Austin Garrett said, “The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and our local, state, and federal partners continue to diligently search for Anthony Bell with all available resources necessary to bring him into custody.

“We are methodically working to validate the information and tips we have received before we disseminate them to our local community and our media partners.”

Later Sunday afternoon, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation added Bell to their Top 10 Most Wanted in hopes of spreading the word of his escape statewide.

Officials said, "The escape of Anthony Labron Bell remains a very active investigation.The HCSO wants to notify the residents and business owners in Hamilton County, especially those in the Wilcox Boulevard and Riverside Drive area where Bell was last known to be located, to use caution, remain vigilant, and report any suspicious activity immediately."

Bell, is a black male, approximately 5’10” in height, weighing 160 pounds, and is 29 years old.

Bell was being held at the Hamilton County Jail for various felony charges stemming from a Chattanooga Police Department case as well as active hold for a warrant from Lowndes County, Ga.

Bell was brought to Erlanger on Friday for medical treatment. Officials said, "The reason for the medical visit cannot be released due to HIPPA privacy regulations."

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Division personnel are investigating how Bell managed to escape. An Internal Affairs Investigation has also begun to investigate if proper policies and procedures were followed.

Bell’s charges include six counts of aggravated robbery, aggravated child abuse or neglect, unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon, aggravated burglary, bribery of a public servant, felon in possession of a firearm, simple possession of marijuana and statutory rape (pending hold from Lowndes County, Ga.

Officials said, "The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office would like to offer the following clarification for both the public and the members of the media in regards to why Bell’s name was withheld in the early stages of the escape. Escapee Anthony Bell’s name was delayed being released to the public in order to give HCSO Fugitive Division personnel adequate time to address any potential leads that could lend to his recapture.

"The HCSO would like to ask the community for their assistance in locating Bell. If any person has any information as to his whereabouts please contact the HCSO immediately at 423 622-0022."

Lashonda D. Kirkwood
Lashonda D. Kirkwood

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