WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 07, 2011, 09:20 AM

Barnes County Jail condition in questions after inmates escape

Valley City, ND (WDAY TV) - Barnes County authorities are on the lookout for two inmates who escaped from the county jail in Valley City Monday night. They're believed to be in a blue, 1994 Mazda pickup. Some folks are more concerned about the jail's condition than the escaped inmates.

This was the door. The one that 28-year-old Ryan Eugene Thomas and 21-year-old Travis James Dethlefts escaped from last night. Dethlefts, from Carrington, was in jail for violating probation. Thomas, from Mandan, was being held for many Morton County warrants.

Lee Grossman – States Attorney: "They were both on cleaning duty when they kicked in a door and fled."

Thomas and Dethlefs are on the run, but authorities say they are certain the inmates will be caught.

Lee Grossman: "Normally, in situations like this, people go to where they are most comfortable. So we know where they are going and its just a matter of time before we catch them."

"The inmates escaped from this correctional facility, which was built in 1882. Some say it may be time for some new improvements."

Tyler Kappes – Valley City: "If they can kick the door in and get out, it's time for higher security."

Roselyn Huber – Valley City: “Oh it's very outdated, and could use some updating. It would be great to get a new facility. "

Others agree a makeover is necessary.

Bobbie Paulson – Valley City: "It should be updated. I mean I've never been inside but that could be updated so they can't get out just by doing that."

But that costs money, and some say flooding gets first dibs on taxpayer dollars.

Esther Jacobson – Dazey, ND: "We got county roads that are underwater, but then again obviously the jail needs some works."

The community seems certain the inmates will be caught.

Tyler Kappes: "Its not scary, they will answer for it when they get back."

Instead, some say their concern for the correctional facility is taking center stage.