As much as $5,000 had been offered as a reward for help in locating 33-year-old Cecil “Red” DeWitt Nelson, FBI Special Agent in Charge Mark F. Giuliano said Monday while requesting the public’s help. Late Monday night, the FBI announced that Nelson was arrested without incident but did not provide details as to where or exactly when he was arrested.
Nelson was one of six inmates who escaped from the Emanuel County jail Saturday night.
The men escaped about 11 p.m. through a door into a plumbing area. The jail apparently had plumbing work done the night before, and a worker neglected to lock a door, Emanuel County Sheriff Tyson Stephens told The Augusta Chronicle.
The inmates reportedly climbed up a stairwell in a room that leads to the roof, where they were able to break a lock on a second door and climb down.
By Sunday evening, three of the escaped inmates were back in custody. Calls to the Emanuel County jail Monday night confirmed that the other inmates were still at large. Nelson was the only escapee authorities had suggested might be in the Savannah area.
Nelson pleaded guilty Aug. 16 in federal court to one count of conspiracy to kidnap for his part in a scheme to kidnap two Bryan County businessmen and hold them for ransom. Co-defendant Gary Lenion “Geethang” McDonald of Statesboro pleaded guilty to the same charge in July, and Antonio Lamont “Mont” Murray of Pembroke was convicted by a federal jury of kidnapping in August.
Prosecutors contended that Nelson, McDonald and Murray had invaded two victims’ homes between Nov. 29 and Jan. 23, terrorized them for ransom and used firearms in furtherance of their schemes. An indictment charged that $19,000 was paid for the release of the first victim and $250,000 was demanded for the release of the second victim. Both men were released after the ransoms were paid.