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Missing inmate returns

COFIELD – An inmate from the Gates County Correctional Center briefly escaped when he walked off a work detail in Cofield Wednesday morning.

“We received a call at approximately 11 am that an inmate had walked away from the jobsite in Cofield,” Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan said.

The inmate, Reginald Lamont Solomon, was working on a jobsite for the Town of Cofield and was being supervised by a town employee when the two walked to the nearby Duck Thru convenience store.

“Several people witnessed the inmate talking to a female in a four-door, burgundy vehicle at the Duck Thru,” Vaughan said. “She was seen circling the area later.”

With the assistance of Gates County Correctional Center Warden Willie Davis, Vaughan and the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office began searching for the missing inmate. Search dogs were also brought in, Vaughan said.

At approximately 1:10 pm Vaughan and Davis returned to the Duck Thru in Cofield and saw a car matching the description of the vehicle involved in the escape. The inmate exited the vehicle and was apprehended. Vaughan followed the female driving the burgundy vehicle and stopped her in the parking lot at the Perdue Feed Mill plant. The woman, who assisted in Solomon’s brief period of freedom, was taken to the Sheriff’s Office in Winton for questioning, but has not been charged at this point.

“I want to thank the community, especially the people at the Duck Thru, the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office, the Winton Police Department and the North Carolina Wildlife Commission for their assistance,” Vaughan said.

Solomon may only be subject to administrative action following his escape due to a North Carolina law.

According to North Carolina General Statute 148-45 (g)(2) “a person on escape from work release, early parole or temporary release may avoid being charged with escape by returning to confinement within 24 hours of the time he or she was ordered to report.”

Solomon, 31, is serving a maximum 13-year, 8-month sentence for committing robbery with a dangerous weapon. That crime was committed on Jan. 20, 1997 in Martin County. He was convicted one year later and incarcerated in the Gates County Correctional Center. His projected early release date was listed on the North Carolina Department of Corrections website as 11-16-07.

That was not Solomon’s first run-in with the law.

In 1996, he served three months in prison for felonious larceny in Martin County.

One year earlier, Solomon served a probationary period for a larceny charge, also in Martin County.

On June 7, 1993, Solomon received a suspended sentence and was placed on probation for failure to stop at the scene of an accident. Two days earlier (6-5-93), he was accused of assault by pointing a gun and received a suspended sentence and probation. Both those charges were in Martin County.