Henry County Jail escapees back in custody

Johnny Dennis, left, and Michael Betram, right, escaped from the Henry County Jail.

NEW CASTLE, Ind. (WISH) — Two escapees from the Henry County Jail have been caught by police.

Henry County dispatch confirmed that 37-year-old Michael Bertram and 41-year-old Johnny Dennis are back in police custody. Video showed the two had slipped away from the jail around 4:15 a.m. Monday.

Henry County Sheriff Butch Baker said both men were serving as inmate workers. Video showed Bertram had secluded himself in the jail’s food pantry where he removed plywood to the roof, which is still inside the jail. Baker said Bertram apparently was able to remove a knife that was secured to a kitchen cabinet with a steel cable and use that to cut a hole through the siding, gaining access to the roof.

The escape wasn’t noticed until another inmate came in to begin making breakfast, and officers checked video tape.

“There is an observation TV in there that has 36 different cameras on it. But there is not an individual that sits there and watches all 36 cameras at all times,” said Sheriff Baker.

The second inmate, Dennis, is a night shift inmate worker who does cleaning and was buffing the floors. Dennis left his job and exited the same way as Bertram. After accessing the rooftop, the two removed their jail uniforms, jumped to the ground and fled.

A door to the area where the two escaped should have been locked, but wasn’t, the sheriff said, because it was broken. Another door should have been locked, but was left open.

“We’ll have to go back and take a look at our procedures and guidelines and see if we can make an adjustment to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Sheriff Baker said.

Baker said both inmates have been in and out of jail over the years. Bertram was being held on theft charges and Dennis was being held for robbery and a fight.


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