PAULDING COUNTY, Ohio (WANE) More than 72 hours after prisoner Branden Powell escaped police custody, the Paulding County Sheriff’s Department found him in his parents’ crawl space, where he later took his own life.
Paulding County Sheriff Jason Landers said around 6 p.m. Monday night, investigators learned Powell was possibly in a rural area of Antwerp, Ohio. Officers and agents from multiple agencies then found him in the crawl space. Police tried to negotiate with Powell to get him out peacefully and arrest him, but Powell didn’t listen. Later around 9:30 p.m. Powell took his own life by shooting himself.
Friday Powell was restrained in shackles and handcuffs when he scaled a row of seats and attacked a deputy. Landers said the inmate put the deputy in a headlock which caused the transport van to crash at County Road 133 and 176. Powell then stole his gun, extra ammunition, and handcuff key. He then forced the deputy to handcuff himself.
The deputy was not seriously hurt in the incident and Landers said the deputy was “doing well” when he saw him Saturday. The same day a reward of $2,000 was posted for any information that would lead to the capture of Powell.
24-Hour News 8’s sister station, WANE, spoke with Powell’s aunt on Monday. She did not want to be identified.
“The whole family is in shock at the way he’s acting,” she said. “He really is a nice guy. I don’t know why he did this. He’s a really nice guy. He would do anything for anybody. I know he’s helped me out a lot. I hope they catch him and he gets the help that he needs. That’s what I hope”
On July 8, Powell was arrested in Hicksville after a rape investigation by the Antwerp Police Department. He was booked on a felony rape charge but became suicidal in jail, according to Landers. Powell was admitted to the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital in Toledo for treatment. He was released from that treatment Friday and Deputy Miller was tasked with returning Powell to the Paulding County Jail.
Landers said law enforcement hopes the community can rest knowing this armed and dangerous individual is no longer a danger to the community. The investigation is still ongoing.