Justice and Public Safety Cabinet
Canine Unit Tracks Down Bell County Forestry Camp Inmate
FRANKFORT, Ky. – An inmate at the Bell County Forestry Camp had his taste of freedom cut short thanks to the work of the new canine unit at the minimum-security prison. Despite a severe storm with heavy rain, Sean Lee Southerland, was apprehended just after midnight last night. Prison bloodhounds and the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT) located him three miles from the prison.
“Our new canine unit has shown how valuable they are to this Department,” said Corrections Deputy Commissioner James Schomig. “In spite of difficult weather conditions, they were able to track this inmate and locate him within an hour.”
Southerland, 25, was serving a six-year sentence out of Hardin County for charges of being a persistent felony offender and theft by unlawful taking over $300. He was transferred to the minimum-security prison on Wednesday from Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex, and was eligible for parole in 17 months. He is now lodged in the Bell County Jail and will face charges of escape. The escape charge will prevent Southerland from being housed in a minimum-security prison in Kentucky for at least five years.
“Everyone here worked together as a team. Our CERT team, our canine handlers and the dogs themselves,” said Warden Ron Howard. “The main ingredient was our staff – but the dogs kept us on the right trail. They got to the woods just as a line of severe storms hit and I was afraid they would lose the scent, but they never did. They did exactly as they are trained despite the weather.”