FORT MYERS, Fla. - Two juveniles are back in custody this morning after they escaped from the Fort Myers Youth Academy according to Fort Myers Police Department late Wednesday night.
WINK News was on State Road 82 overnight, as Fort Myers Police and Lee County Deputies searched for them. Officers blocked the road at Forum blvd. for hours, on and off, overnight.
Police say they found one escapee around 1:00 a.m. and the other around 3:00 a.m., near State Road 82 and Buckingham Road. They'll face escape charges.
Fort Myers Youth Academy is a non-secure residential substance abuse program for boys 14 to 18 years old, who are considered to be at moderate risk.
The adminstrator told police the 15 and 14-year-old roommates got out a window and then climbed over a fence that's about 9 feet tall and doesn't have any barbed wire to stop them.
A witness called police when he spotted the boys. Officers found one of them in an open pasture, but it took about two and a half hours to track down the other near Buckingham Road.
A K9 bit both boys as police tried to get them into custody.
The administrator told police they do room checks every 10 minutes and that's when they noticed the boys missing last night.
As to why they were at the facility in the first place, one had charges against him for drug possession, attempted robbery. The other had petit theft, and theft of a motor vehicle. They are both from outside the Southwest Florida area.
The Fort Myers Youth Academy treats minimal/low risk juveniles.
00:13:25 He's having trouble adjusting to this situation.
We spoke exclusively to one of the boy's mothers. She says her son was charged with armed robbery at the age of 12, and developed a problem with marijuana. She says he started the program last Monday. She says it was long overdue.
"I even told the probation officer, my son needs a program. My son needs a program before it's get too far," said Maria. WINK News is identifying her by only her first name, because WINK News is not naming the juveniles.
She says the justice system had been too lenient, and she's happy that maybe this mistake, will finally teach him a lesson.
"He needs to understand the rules, and comprehend that. He didn't. He wasn't ready for that," said Maria.
A spokesperson for the company that owns the Academy, named G4S released a statemtn to us:
"At approximately 10:30pm on August 13, 2014, G4S staff observed that two youth had exited the facility and the Ft. Myers Police Department was contacted immediately. Police responded and the youth were apprehended within hours. The youth in this facility have been classified by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice as minimal/low risk to the community. An internal investigation has been initiated. We take these matters very seriously and we will work to ensure that any necessary changes fully implemented to help prevent a reoccurrence.
With very few exceptions, the adolescents housed in Juvenile Justice programs like Fort Myers Youth Academy are released back into the community after they have satisfied the terms of their commitment. It is our responsibility to work with these young men and to do our best to return them to society with the skills, knowledge and behaviors that enable them to become productive members of society."