Inmate caught at mother's house 12 hours after escaping on way back to Texas jail: officials

Nigel Thomas Sanders allegedly tried to carjack DA's office employee at knifepoint, later jumped into nearby bayou

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Friday, June 14, 2024
Escaped inmate caught at mother's house in Texas: officials
There was a Houston inmate escape Thursday. Nigel Thomas Sanders was captured at his mother's house after a Harrison County search in Texas.

HOUSTON -- An escaped inmate who authorities say also tried to carjack a district attorney's office employee at knifepoint was caught early Friday morning, the Harris County, Texas Sheriff's Office said.

At about 3 a.m., Nigel Thomas Sanders was captured at his mother's home by the Violent Offenders Fugitive Task Force in east Harris County, according to authorities.

There is no threat to public safety, the sheriff's office said, adding that Sanders will face new charges of aggravated robbery and escape for Thursday's incident.

Sanders is not the only person who will be charged.

ABC Houston affiliate KTRK has learned two more people, identified as his mother and his sister, were arrested for hindering apprehension, officials said.

The sheriff's office said during an update Friday morning that Sanders resisted arrest, so officials deployed a Taser and took him into custody. He's being treated at the hospital.

Authorities added that they received multiple leads, and several law enforcement agencies were involved in searching addresses for the suspect.

Nigel Thomas Sanders was caught at his mother's house in east Harris County about 12 hours after he escaped the downtown courthouse. His mother and sister are also charged.

Sanders' capture on Friday marked the end of a 12-hour search for a man authorities considered dangerous.

It all started around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, when the sheriff's office received word of an escape, prompting the shutdown of the jail complex, HCSO Assistant Chief Philip Bosquez said.

An inmate count uncovered Sanders was missing. They believed he escaped from the building adjacent to the criminal courthouse.

Bosquez said Sanders, who has a lengthy criminal history, was in court for three burglary counts and an unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon charge. After his hearing, Sanders was on his way to the jail when Bosquez said he "facilitated" the escape, even though HCSO didn't mention specifics.

Sanders got to the building's sallyport, where an employee was getting into her vehicle. Bosquez said there, he jumped in and held her at knifepoint. The woman crashed into several cars, and Sanders took off on foot again.

Bosquez could only say that Sanders got ahold of the knife outside of jail.

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The University of Houston-Downtown earlier issued an alert to students and staff, warning them to "get indoors immediately," "lock outside doors" and "avoid windows." UHD later said there was no longer an emergency, and the situation was cleared.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg also confirmed that the employee, held against her will, works in her office.

"We are thankful and grateful that she was not physically harmed during this incident," Ogg said. "Once he is arrested, we expect to prosecute this defendant and seek justice in this case."

After the attempted carjacking, Sanders jumped into a nearby bayou, wearing his jail-issued black shirt and orange pants.

KTRK was told Sanders has associates in the Cloverleaf, Texas area, where he was found.