Missing food points to prison escaper
Escaped prisoner Stephen Maddren continues to lead police on a cat-and-mouse chase in the area around the Otago prison he escaped from.
With regular calls from the public, however, police were confident he would be found “in just a matter of time,” Senior Sergeant Brian Benn said.
The latest potential sighting was at a rural property near Clinton today, where residents were asked by a man for fuel and money. They called police, providing a description which was similar to Maddren’s.
“We’re getting to the point where it’s not thought to be the same guy,” Benn said, “but that sort of thing is happening quite regularly. People are calling when they’re noticing anything suspicious. I’m confident we’ll catch up with him through that process.
“We’ve got quite a few inquiries going on regarding places and people he might go to.”
Maddren, who has been on the run since Tuesday, may have also entered an unlocked house in the Milburn area about 1am today and taken food and milk from a fridge.
Senior Sergeant Alistair Dickie said forensic investigations would establish if Maddren had been in the house.
Occupants called the police after hearing floor boards squeaking, Dickie said.
"The [police] dogs then tracked back up to the vicinity where the guy was last seen," he said.
The house was on a road that leads to the Otago Corrections Facility and about 500 metres from another house where sounds were heard in the ceiling yesterday morning, sparking a police callout.
Police had ruled out the possibility Maddren may have been picked up by a vehicle after he escaped, he said.
Maddren absconded on Tuesday afternoon while being led from the prison reception to his cell following a court appearance. He climbed a downpipe and jumped off a three-story building to scale the prison security fence.
He was being transferred without handcuffs.
After his escape Maddren disappeared into a forest near the prison.
Otago Corrections Facility Manager Jack Harrison today rejected reports that said residents weren’t notified about the escape.
“Staff at Otago Corrections Facility made every effort to inform neighbours,” he said.
The first notification went out within the hour of Maddren’s escape.
In total, 84 people were emailed or received a text, and phone calls followed shortly.
Police continue to appeal to the public for help in finding him.
Maddren is described as a male, European, 25 years old, 1.71m tall, with mullet-type brown or black shoulder length hair, and no teeth.
He was last seen wearing green track pants and a green top.
Police said people who saw Maddren should not approach him but call them on 111.
The Southland Times