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Bemidji inmate, who escaped from Sanford hospital bathroom, caught in St. Cloud

Keanu Joseph Major

BEMIDJI, Minn.— A Bemidji man who escaped from custody last week was captured Tuesday evening in St. Cloud.

According to a release sent out at 8:29 p.m. from Chief Deputy Ernie Beitel of the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office, Keanu Joseph Major, 25, was apprehended in St. Cloud and more details of his arrest will be released Wednesday.

Major escaped custody on Friday from Sanford Bemidji Medical Center after a corrections officer allowed him to use the restroom, according to a search warrant filed Monday.

Major was taken to Sanford on Thursday night after he was assaulted by another inmate, the warrant said. At about 3:15 a.m. Friday, while at the hospital, a Beltrami County Corrections officer allowed Major to go to the bathroom.

When the officer noticed Major was "taking a while," the document says, she knocked on the door and asked if he was OK. Major said he was, so the officer waited a few minutes and knocked again. There was no answer.

The officer then opened the bathroom door and found that Major was missing. She asked the front desk worker if Major had gone out the medical center's front door. She then looked at surveillance footage and saw that Major had left via a bathroom door that led to a hallway, then went out the south exit of the hospital.

Footage showed that Major had left his flip flops behind and was holding up his leg restraints as he "hobbled" down the hall, the warrant says.

Beitel said on Tuesday that the corrections officer was not at fault, and that a lack of staff was one factor that contributed to Major's escape. Beitel added that procedures had been put in place to prevent additional escapes, but could not elaborate.

"This was a set of circumstances that, nobody saw them happening," Beitel said.

After he escaped, officials sent out a Code Red Alert at about 5 a.m. Friday morning, urging residents that Major was to be considered dangerous and not to make contact with him.

Major was last seen leaving a vehicle near Lake George, about 20 miles south of Bemidji, at 11 a.m. Friday.

Major was charged with escaping from custody, a felony, on Monday. He was initially arrested on June 29 after he allegedly ran over another man with his car in response to being stabbed. He was charged with second-degree assault and failure to stop after a traffic collision.

Grace Pastoor

Grace Pastoor covers crime, courts and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. Contact her at (218) 333-9796 or gpastoor@bemidjipioneer.com

(218) 333-9796
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