Search for escapees became nationwide manhunt

Published On: Jul 25 2012 06:14:12 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 25 2012 07:58:51 PM CDT
James Mislevick (left), James Newman (right)

BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- A manhunt for two escaped inmates that started in Jackson County last week ended in Florida Wednesday morning.

James Newman and James Misleveck were arrested in Hollywood, Fla., near Miami, a week after walking away from Black River Correctional Center.

They were arrested around 3:30 Wednesday morning, still driving the same car police said they stole from Monroe County after their escape.

"Security officers for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino notified us that there was a suspicious vehicle in the south parking lot of the Hollywood Hard Rock Hotel," said Seminole Police Lt. Dave Carry.

That car belonged to Tomah resident James Shepherd. Police said his 1996 Chrysler Concord was stolen by two escaped inmates last week.

"Since they made it to Florida, I'm assuming that the car's not in too bad of condition. I just hope I get it back with a full tank of gas. That would be nice," said Shepherd.

The car's condition is unknown, but Newman's condition isn't looking so good. He limped his way out of the hospital and into a cop car after being bitten by a police K-9.

Misleveck, was found in Hollywood, Fla. resident Christopher Williams' back yard.

"He hit the fence. My mother-in-law’s room is right there. My room is behind hers, and I heard it. And it scared her," said Williams.

In Wisconsin, Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera said even if it wasn't his department that finally caught the escapees, he's just glad they're behind bars once again.

"Putting these people in custody is a great accomplishment in such a short time. And people might comment that we should have got them that day, sure. Nobody wants to lose -- we should have gotten them that day, yes. But things happen. There are variables. We didn't. But they're now in custody and I guess that's the best thing for public safety, to put these people back behind bars," said Waldera.

So what happens to the fugitives now? Now that they've criss-crossed the country, they're going to have to answer to the criminal justice systems in all of the states where crimes were committed.

They will eventually return to Jackson County, but the sheriff doesn't know how long that will take.

There is no word on why the two traveled to Florida or whether local law enforcement had any idea they were there.

Newman and Misleveck had just a short time left on their sentences, but now that their felonies span multiple states, the Jackson County sheriff said they could be looking at one or more decades of prison time.