Deputy placed on administrative leave after juvenile escaped courthouse

Deputy placed on administrative leave after juvenile escaped courthouse

DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A deputy was placed on administrative leave after a juvenile escaped from the Darlington County Court House Tuesday, according to a press release.

The deputy had custody of eight juveniles following a family court hearing at the courthouse. It happened around 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

"The process would have been to transport them to the juvenile facility in Columbia," said Capt. Mark Campbell, who oversees all operations at the Darlington County Sheriff's Office. "Seven of which made it to the van and one walked away."

Campbell said, fortunately, all eight juveniles went before a judge Tuesday for fairly low-key issues. The juvenile who was in custody for an alleged truancy violation was able to escape custody, the release states.

"Even though the judge saw fit to adjudicate him to a juvenile facility, it was still a nonviolent crime," Campbell said.

According to Campbell, a court ruling prohibits all juveniles from wearing handcuffs while standing before a judge. However, courtroom security personnel are watching.

After family court, each one is to be put inside a secured room and officially taken into custody. Then, they are securely transported to the facility. On Tuesday, that did not happen, which may lead to some safety changes, according to Campbell.

"If we find that additional training is needed or training that has not been provided in the past that needs to be, we will make that happen," he said.

The investigation will include statements, interviews, and security protocol. Campbell said safety measures inside the Darlington County Courthouse is on the agenda for the capital improvement plan the sheriff's office will look into, which will include help from the county.

"Whatever plans that the county already has in place, something out of this investigation if we identify as a problem or concern, then that will be addressed in the future," Campbell said.

Once the juvenile is located, he or she will be brought back to court, Campbell said.

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