MIAMI, Fla. - Three escaped Louisiana jail inmates captured in Miami have been linked to the disappearance earlier this month of a Florida State University graduate student, police said Tuesday.
A Tallahassee Police Department statement said that one of the men "indicated they may have been involved in the disappearance" of the student, 29-year-old Vincent Binder. The statement also said the trio, arrested Monday at a Miami motel, was suspected in two robberies also committed in Tallahassee.
Binder was last seen about 12:30 a.m. April 2 walking between apartments of two friends, police said. "The investigation is ongoing and our investigators have a lot of work ahead, but this is the breakthrough we so badly needed," Tallahassee Police Chief Dennis Jones said in the statement.
"Our focus has been and continues to be on locating Vincent Binder." No one has been charged in the disappearance, and police have not said whether they believe Binder is alive. A vigil was planned for later Tuesday near the Florida State football stadium.
The U.S. Marshals Service said the three men, each with lengthy rap sheets and histories of violence, were captured after authorities located a truck they allegedly stole after escaping from a jail in Avoyelles Parish, La. Crime scene technicians were examining a bloody knife found in the truck for clues, said Marshals spokesman Barry Golden.
"They were extremely dangerous, and will do what they have to do to get their way," Golden said. Jailed on charges of escape are 22-year-old Quentin M. Truehill of New Orleans, 39-year-old Kentrell F. Johnson of Marksville and 22-year-old Peter Hughes of Abbeville. Shirley Marcus, 40, of Miami also is charged with harboring fugitives.
Court records didn't list attorneys for any of them. The three men escaped March 30 after holding a makeshift knife to the throat of a corrections officer, forcing him to open the jail's doors. Another officer who tried to stop them was cut on the hand.
After they ran away, police say a 2006 Chevrolet 2500 extended-cab pickup was stolen from a house in Marksville, La. It was this truck that investigators found abandoned Monday at a Miami Beach park, along with receipts and other evidence that led them to the Miami motel and the three suspects.