An American fugitive who fled in handcuffs from a police truck has been caught today after spending three nights hiding in long grass.
Ezekiel Shiloni Dolcide, 28, from Florida, leapt from the open door of a van on Monday afternoon while being transferred between stations in Phuket, southern Thailand.
But a vigilante mob of angry locals caught him hiding in the jungle today (19/12) wearing the same outfit as the day he outran two Thai policeman through the city and disappeared into the wilderness.
Police have now arrested Dolcide and locked him in a cell – vowing to keep him locked securely to prevent a repeat of the embarrassing escape. He will now be deported.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Sutham Rattanasawang from Chalong police station said: “We rushed to the scene after getting reports from locals who were looking for the escaped prisoner. Then we immediately moved to arrest Dolcide in the field.”
The police chief said officers had been hunting the American round the clock since his escape.
He said: “We had searched for the prisoner since the first day the escaped. We did not stop looking for him. We will not let him escape again.”
Dolcide was arrested last month for alleged marijuana possession on the Karon Beach area of Phuket. The officers also charged him with overstaying his visa.
He escaped while being transformed from Phuket City Police Station to Chalong last Monday (16/12) afternoon – sparking a mass hunt by police and local volunteers.
Residents, Narit Rotnakaret, 39, and Natthapong Baiyusob, 30, went to an area of tall jungle grass in Rawai district believing that the prisoner may have been hidden there.
They were the first local people who saw the fugitive .
Narit said: “My friend and I saw the head of the prisoner at first. Then we figured out a plan to persuade him to come out of the field.
”The man finally talked to both of us and I then asked if he would like us to bring food for him.”
One of the friends went to fetch food – without letting on to Dolcide that they knew who he was – then called police.
Officers arrived to find him still hiding in the grass. He was hungry and thirsty having not eaten for three nights.
Docide said he decided to escape because he wanted to stay in Thailand. He said: “I didn’t want to go back to my country. I wanted to stay in Thailand, so, that was why I ran away.”