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Suspicious homeowner finds two prison escapees in home’s crawlspace, NC deputies say

Two minimum custody offenders, Josh Ashworth and Brandon McDurmon, were captured without incident in the nearby town of Hamlet.
Two minimum custody offenders, Josh Ashworth and Brandon McDurmon, were captured without incident in the nearby town of Hamlet. NC Public Safety tweet screenshot

A North Carolina homeowner who got suspicious something was amiss under his home stumbled onto two prison escapees crammed into the crawlspace, reports the North Carolina Department of Prisons.

It happened Monday evening in the Richmond County town of Hamlet, about 80 miles southeast of Charlotte.

Investigators say Josh Ashworth, 18, and Brandon McDurmon, 22, were discovered when the “property owner came home, noticed someone had tampered with the cover to the home’s crawlspace and called the authorities.”

The identity of the homeowners was not released.

Deputies suspect the two were using the dark crawlspace as a hiding place as the manhunt continued on the streets around them. Officials did not say how long they believe the men might have been in the crawlspace.

The escapees vanished between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Monday during breakfast at the Morrison Correctional Institution in Hoffman, according to a press release. The prison is about 20 miles northeast of Hamlet.

Hamlet Police and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office coaxed the two out of the crawlspace about 6:15 p.m. Monday “without incident,” said a release.

“Ashworth was serving a three-year sentence for felony breaking and entering, while McDurmon was serving a two-year and two-month sentence for possession of a firearm by a felon,” said the press release.

The two now face additional charges of escape and breaking into a second residence near where they were they were recaptured, said prison officials said.

Morrison Correctional Institution holds about 800, says the N.C. Department of Prisons.

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