Mississippi Department of Corrections
Date: December 4, 2003
Contact: Suzanne Singletary
Phone: (601) 359-5608
Fax: (601) 359-5738
Jackson¾Commissioner Chris Epps revealed today the results of an Internal Audit investigation into the escape of State Inmate, Larry Hentz. Hentz is believed to have escaped from Unit 24 B at the Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP) in Parchman, Miss. between the hours of 2:15 a.m. – 2:30 a.m. Monday, November 17, 2003.
Based on information provided through the investigation, Hentz’s wife, Elizabeth Lacy Hentz, was able to smuggle a six inch reciprocating saw blade into MSP during a visitation with Hentz approximately one month ago. The investigation further revealed that on a November 16 visit with Hentz, Elizabeth Hentz smuggled in without detection a pair of wire cutters and $500 in cash.
The report concludes that Larry Hentz used the reciprocating blade to saw through one of the security bars on his cell window. It has been estimated that it would have taken approximately three weeks to successfully cut through one of the bars on the window of the cell. Larry Hentz subsequently was able to negotiate from his cell window to the perimeter security fence (95 feet) without detection. Hentz then cut through two 12 foot perimeter fences surrounding the unit, composed of number six and number nine gauge wires respectively. It is 195 feet from the perimeter tower to the location where Hentz cut through the perimeter fences.
The report states that inmate Hentz was discovered missing from his cell by corrections staff at 9:42 a.m. on the morning of November 17. Once the escape was discovered, escape procedures were immediately implemented, and the MSP K-9 Unit conducted a physical track on Hentz from Unit 24 B building for approximately three miles before the trail ran out on Highway 49 South. This is where it is believed he was picked up by his wife, Elizabeth Lacey Hentz in a 2001 red four door KIA Sephia with Panola County disabled tag number P4856.
During the course of the investigation, IAD found numerous infractions of staff neglecting to carry out proper standard operating procedures and policies:
12:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. shift on November 17, 2003 admitted being asleep, allowing Hentz to exit his cell window and cut two fences without being detected.
As a result of the investigation and evaluation of the available evidence, MDOC will take the following preliminary corrective actions:
America’s Most Wanted will feature the Larry Hentz escape, Saturday, December 6 at 8:00 p.m. CT on the Fox TV network.
Built in 1975 for $3.6M
192 single-cell medium security beds
2-stories consisting of 3 housing zones
Zones A and B house special needs offenders under mental health care
Zone C houses general population A and B custody inmates
Each housing zone in Unit 24 has 64 beds
Description of Suspects:
An extensive joint fugitive investigation to capture Larry and Elizabeth Hentz is being conducted by MDOC with the assistance of local, state and federal law enforcement authorities.