Escaped Michigan murderer captured in LaPorte County

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LAGRANGE COUNTY, Ind. (Feb. 3, 2014)– An escaped inmate has now been captured and is in custody.

Michael David Elliot, 40, who was convicted of four murders in 1993 and escaped from the Ionia Correctional Facility in Michigan Sunday night is now in the custody of the LaPorte County Sheriff Department.

Police said Michael Elliot was wearing kitchen whites, which made it easier for him to get through security checks at the Ionia Correctional Facility. He got away between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., but no one realized he was gone until 9 p.m. All other inmates are accounted for, investigators said.

Once he got outside, investigators say he used a box cutter to abduct a woman and force her to drive him to Elkhart. The woman was able to safely escape from Elliot when they pulled over for gas in Elkhart. Investigators later found the vehicle in Shipshewana in LaGrange County around 12:45 p.m. Monday. He may be heading to Tennessee, according to authorities.

Elliot was serving a life sentence for multiple first-degree murder convictions from 1994, as well as arson and armed robbery. He is 5’ 8 “tall and 165 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. He also has tattoos on both arms and a scar on his upper lip. Elliot had a clean record in prison and was not considered a threat to escape. He didn’t have any problems on report for several years.

Monday afternoon at approximately 12:15 p.m., the LaGrange County Sheriff Department received a call from a resident in the 400 block of North State Street in Shipshewana reporting that a red Jeep Liberty was parked just outside of her residence. This call came as a result of a news story that she had heard regarding both the escape and the vehicle that Elliot was last to have been known in.

Within minutes, Shipshewana Town Marshal Tom Fitch arrived and once he determined that the Jeep was in fact the same one that Elliot was last in possession of, he quickly had the Shipshewana Scott Elementary School and other area schools locked down. Officers converged on Shipshewana to begin a methodical house to house search for Elliot.

At approximately 5:30 p.m., the LaGrange County Sheriff Department suspended the search and was encouraging residents to remain vigilant and to report any and all suspicious activity. Sometime after 6:00 p.m., a Deputy with the LaPorte County Sheriff Department attempted to initiate a traffic stop on a reported stolen vehicle when the vehicle sped away. After a short pursuit, the vehicle stopped and the driver, who was identified as Elliot, was taken into custody and taken to the LaPorte County Jail where he is currently being held.