Some lingering questions about how a pair of teens slipped away from Augusta's youth prison, apparently through a hole cut into a chain-link security fence, might get answered this week.
Namely, how did the hole get there, and what's been done to prevent another escape?
Even though both juveniles were captured in north Georgia within six days of the Dec. 1 incident, so far, Juvenile Justice officials haven't discussed details of the breakout.
An open-records request for internal documents was denied by the department's staff attorney, citing a pending investigation.
Spokeswoman Ericka Davis said in an e-mail Friday that the investigation is being finalized, along with recommendations.
Once Commissioner Albert Murray and Deputy Commissioner of Programs Services Thomas Coleman sign off, which should happen late Monday, Augusta Youth Development Campus Director John Brady can finally talk about what occurred, the e-mail said.
According to a report by the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, which was summoned after the escape, Erik J. Rosenbaum, 18, and Tyler Horn, 16, made a dash toward the back end of the campus at about 8:30 p.m.
A hole was later discovered in a section of fence near Phinizy Road, and one of the teens' jackets was found outside it.
Sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry said investigators assisted the YDC in the search but didn't look into the boys' method of escape.
In a Juvenile Justice incident report - the only related document the department has released - a correctional officer wrote that while he was moving a group of youths from the gym back into their housing unit, one of them stepped out of line.
As the officer and another staffer tried to retrieve him, two other boys ran off, the report says.
The officer said he chased the two but lost sight of them in high grass.
"Based on how the incident occurred, the staff did all they could to handle the situation," shift supervisor Lt. Gary Roane wrote in the report.
Two hours passed before the YDC notified police - Ms. Davis says because until then, staff members thought the youths were still on the campus.
The facility is situated on more than 300 acres in south Augusta off Mike Padgett Highway.
Hundreds of homes are within a mile radius, in neighborhoods such as Apple Valley and North View off Mike Padgett, Silvercrest off Peach Orchard Road, and the Butler Creek manufactured housing community off Phinizy Road.
The YDC specializes in treating Georgia's mentally ill and mentally disturbed juvenile offenders.
Both of the escapees were being kept in one of the campus's general population units.
Mr. Horn, from Dalton, Ga., has a lengthy record that includes stealing a car, multiple burglary charges, terroristic threats, loitering, disrupting a public school, truancy and instigating a disturbance at the Dalton youth jail that injured three other juveniles, according to Whitfield County Juvenile Court documents.
Mr. Rosenbaum, of Ringgold, Ga., has a more troubling rap sheet.
Along with auto theft, financial transaction card theft, simple battery and inhalation of glue, his record also includes charges of child molestation, possession of a pistol and carrying a concealed weapon, according to documents released by Catoosa County Juvenile Court.
During his time in Augusta, he racked up adult charges of public indecency and simple battery over his behavior at the YDC.
Four days after their escape, the two were found at a mobile home park in Murray County, which borders Tennessee.
Mr. Rosenbaum surrendered, but Mr. Horn fled.
Two days later, Mr. Horn was tracked by Juvenile Justice officers to a motel in Dalton and was apprehended by city police.
Ms. Davis, the Juvenile Justice spokeswoman, said both young men are facing felony escape charges but would not say where they are currently being held or what sanctions, if any, they face from Juvenile Justice.
Also unanswered is how the two got from Phinizy Road to north Georgia.
Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Erik Rosen-baum, 18, escaped but was found within a week.
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