Wayne Johnson is described as black, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 160 pounds. He has close-cut black hair, brown eyes and no identifying marks or tattoos. He was wearing state-issued blue shorts and a white, sleeved T-shirt. He is wanted on charges of theft by taking by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office after he and the four other YDC escapees reportedly stole a car on Tobacco Road.
The car was abandoned near Meadowbrook Drive and Byron Place, according to a state Department of Juvenile Justice news release.
One other escapee, Kendrick Johnson, 17, is in the Richmond County jail on the same charges and is being held as an adult. He is not related to Wayne Johnson, authorities said. Three other escapees, one 16 and two 15, were released back into Juvenile Justice custody, sheriff’s Sgt. Bill Leisey said.
Jim Shuler, the director of communications for Juvenile Justice, said the youths were separated and sent to other secure facilities with instructions that they be kept under close watch.
How they escaped was not immediately clear. YDC was placed on immediate lockdown while investigators looked into the escape. Juvenile Justice has assigned investigators to the facility to “search the perimeter for security deficiencies, conduct a facility safety review, and to look for any laxes in protocols or policy violations which may have contributed to the escape,” a statement said. The department refused to elaborate when asked by e-mail.
After the five were missing during roll call, a corrections officer who was headed home spotted them on the side of the road and alerted authorities, the statement said.
The sheriff’s office was called in to help about 10:30 p.m. Juvenile Justice would not say what time the escape occurred.
The escapees stole a woman’s car in the 1700 block of Tobacco Road and led deputies on a chase, authorities said. Three were quickly recaptured. One ran from the car but was tracked and found later, authorities said. Wayne Johnson, believed to be the driver, got away.
Authorities requested the Georgia State Patrol helicopter to help in the search for him in woods near where the car was abandoned. Juvenile Justice said anyone who sees Wayne Johnson should call 911 and not approach him. It would not release any further description of Johnson.