Authorities capture final Nebraska prison inmate who escaped


LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Authorities in Omaha captured the second of two convicted sex offenders Wednesday who had escaped from a maximum-security Nebraska prison last week.

Timothy Clausen was arrested shortly after 6 p.m. following an extensive search of the Omaha area. The Nebraska State Patrol said in a statement that the 52-year-old had cut his chair, shaved his beard, changed his clothing and had a handgun nearby. He was taken into custody without incident.

Clausen and 37-year-old Armon Dixon escaped Friday from the Lincoln Correctional Center in Lincoln.

Authorities say the two escaped by climbing into a laundry truck that was headed to another state prison in Tecumseh. They then cut a hole in the truck’s roof, authorities say.

Later that morning, police say the men stole a pickup and led authorities on chase through a neighborhood near downtown Lincoln. Authorities ended the pursuit after it reached speeds of 65 mph, and Dixon and Clausen abandoned the pickup after crashing into a parked SUV.

Police captured Dixon in Lincoln on Saturday after he allegedly assaulted two women. Authorities shifted their focus to Omaha after Clausen was spotted in a neighborhood in the northeast part of the city. Clausen was taken to the Tecumseh prison, the State Patrol said.

Authorities also have charged an Omaha woman, Wanda T. Minor, with accessory to a felony. She’s accused of helping transport Clausen from Lincoln to Omaha. It wasn’t immediately clear if Minor knew or was related to Clausen. A judge appointed her a public defender on Wednesday, but that person’s name was not listed in online court records.

Clausen was serving a 50-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting a child under the age of 12 and up to five years for tampering with a juror. Dixon is serving 158 to 278 years for two counts of sexual assault, two counts of robbery, first-degree assault and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony.

On Monday, Nebraska corrections director Scott Frakes acknowledged that prison employees failed to follow at least four security procedures that would have prevented the inmates from escaping. The department is conducting an internal investigation, and the Lincoln facility’s warden, Mario Peart, has been reassigned to the agency’s administrative offices.

Nebraska’s prison system has been plagued with overcrowding and complaints that facilities are understaffed, leading to large amounts of overtime and burnout among employees. Last year, a riot at a state prison in Tecumseh left two inmates dead.

Frakes said the prison system has reduced mandatory overtime but acknowledged that four staffers at the Lincoln Correctional Center were working extra shifts when the escape happened.

Gov. Pete Ricketts said state officials will now focus on where the corrections system failed “and rebuilding public faith in the ability of our prison system to protect Nebraskans.”