Michigan escapee last seen on I-80/90
Escaped prisoner Michael David Elliot - photo from Michigan Dept. of Corrections
(CNN) — A man convicted in the murders of four people is the subject of a multistate manhunt after escaping a Michigan prison, and police believe that his latest crime is kidnapping.
Authorities said Monday that Michael David Elliot, 40, slipped through a fence at Ionia Correctional Facility on Sunday night and then kidnapped a woman from the nearby town of Ionia, Michigan, using a box cutter.
Elliot — who was serving four life sentences for killing four people in 1993 — allegedly approached the woman as she left a house in Ionia and told her he had an emergency and wanted to get as far from Michigan as possible, according to CNN affiliate WOOD.
They traveled about 100 miles to Elkhart, Indiana, in her 2004 Jeep Liberty before Elliot stopped for gas late Sunday and she was able to escape, Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russell L. Marlan said Monday.
According to WOOD, she locked herself in the gas station bathroom and called police. Elliott took off in her Jeep.
He was last seen getting on Interstate 80/90, but authorities don’t know which direction he was traveling or where he was heading. The interstate connects Elkhart with Chicago to the west and Toledo, Ohio, to the east.
“We would advise anyone who sees the vehicle or they see Mr. Elliot to not take matters into their own hands,” Michigan State Police Lt. Troy Allen said Monday.
Prison authorities discovered Elliot missing about 9:30 p.m. Sunday. He apparently pulled back the bottoms of two fences and crawled underneath to escape, Marlan said.
It’s not clear how Elliot was able to move around inside the prison before his escape.
But he was known as a good prisoner and was apparently wearing a kitchen uniform when he broke out, according to Corrections Director Daniel Heyens.
“Nothing in this man’s history would have indicated a high risk of escape,” Heyens said. “He was serving his time.”
Prison authorities believe he acted alone, Heyens said.
According to court documents, Elliot was convicted in the August 1993 murders of Vickie Currie; her boyfriend, Michael Tufnell; his brother Bruce Tufnell; and Kathy Lane, CNN affiliate WXMI reported.
Elliot and three others hatched a plan to steal drug money, WXMI said, and after they didn’t find the money, Elliot and another man killed the four victims and set Michael Tufnell’s house on fire.