LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dozens of federal and local law enforcement personnel were searching Friday for a 15-year-old boy who was in the middle of a murder trial in his mother’s stabbing death when he escaped a Southern California jail.
Ike Souzer escaped the Orange County Juvenile Hall, somehow got onto a roof and then jumped a perimeter fence just after midnight Friday, said Steve Sentman, chief probation officer for the county.
Jail staff spotted Souzer on the roof, then turned on a facility-wide alarm and called the sheriff’s office, he said.
Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Peters said deputies were “very quick” to respond but Souzer was able to elude capture.
The sheriff’s office released surveillance footage showing Souzer tending to an apparent wound on his leg shortly after escaping and then walking seemingly casually away from the facility. The 6-foot, 200-pound teen was wearing red pants and a white shirt.
“We are still searching and widening our search as we go along,” Peters said at a news conference. “We’re following up on every lead possible and making sure that no rock is unturned.”
He said the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service have joined the search.
There’s no evidence that Souzer was armed but the public should call 911 if they think they’ve spotted him, Peters said.
“We just want his safe return back into custody,” he said.
Sentman said it’s the first escape from the 434-bed facility in at least two decades and that an investigation is underway into how it happened.
Souzer has been in custody since he was 13, when he was arrested on suspicion of fatally stabbing his mother, 48-year-old Barbra Scheuer-Souzer. His escape came in the middle of Souzer’s trial on a murder charge in juvenile court, said Kimberly Edds, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.
Souzer’s public defender, David Hammond, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment late Friday.
A Gofundme page for Scheuer-Souzer says she was so good at helping her son with autism that she went back to school to help others with the condition and was about to graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles.
“Through her unconditional love and commitment, she helped her son go from non-verbal to verbal status,” according to the page. “Her whole goal was to help her son and the autistic community by giving back and serving the needs of others.”
Scheuer-Souzer had three other grown children and three grandchildren.