A convicted sex offender and fugitive from justice with ties to Waterville was captured Tuesday by police in Kansas after he escaped while being driven to Colorado.
Deon Gregory Routt, 22, was trying to blend in with students at the University of Kansas in Lawrence when police caught him around 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to Lawrence police Sgt. Trent McKinley.
Routt, whose last known address is Colorado Springs, Colo., was a fugitive from justice out of that state and was wanted for failure to register as a sex offender there. He was convicted in 2011 of sexual assault on a child.
Waterville police arrested him Oct. 11 after they found him hiding in an Oak Street apartment.
A private security company was driving Routt to Colorado Monday with other prisoners when security officers stopped the van to get food at 5:30 p.m. in Lawrence and Routt escaped, McKinley said.
Lawrence police used every available officer to search the area, distributing flyers with Routt’s picture and going house-to-house looking for him, McKinley said.
On Tuesday an officer in a cruiser saw a group of people near a porch and one person appeared to be deliberately facing away from him, McKinley said.
The person was wearing a University of Kansas knit cap, carrying a backpack and looked like a student, he said.
“He had obtained completely different clothing and was making those networking connections,” McKinley said. “When the officer got out to approach him, he immediately took off running. We had pretty much flooded the area. He got about two blocks and we were able to apprehend him.”
Police tackled Routt at an intersection east of the campus near Memorial Stadium, McKinley said.
He was arrested and charged with aggravated escape from custody and taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital to be treated for minor injuries he suffered while jumping off a retaining wall and falling, McKinley said. He then was taken to Douglas County Jail in Lawrence where he is being held without bail, McKinley said.
Lawrence’s population of 90,000 increases by about 25,000 during the school year.
Waterville Deputy police Chief Charles Rumsey said before Routt was captured Tuesday that police suspected he may try to return to Waterville where he has family members.
Amy Calder — 861-9247