A 16-year-old boy who led local authorities on an intense manhunt for hours Tuesday morning was back in custody after being captured at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.
Michael E. Wilson Jr., 16, had escaped from the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center Monday evening when he scaled a fence around 7 p.m. and fled the facility on foot.
Marion County authorities searched for Wilson overnight — with no results — until two off-duty Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers reported seeing Wilson along U.S. 23 in northern Delaware County about 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Delaware County sheriff’s deputies and state troopers then led the search that lasted more than four hours — until a high school student who had seen a post on social media about Wilson reported seeing him near the U.S. 23 entrance to the Delaware County Fairgrounds about 10 a.m.
Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin said deputies found Wilson walking in the east parking lot of the fairgrounds and chased him down in their vehicles after he began running. Martin added that an Ohio Wesleyan University public safety officer was also in the area and helped to corral Wilson.
Martin reported that a deputy ordered Wilson to stop before using a Taser from inside a moving vehicle and incapacitating Wilson. Wilson was placed under arrest and was treated by Delaware Emergency Medical Services and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he continued to act belligerent and make threats, Martin said.
Tracy Whited, a spokeswoman for the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, reported Tuesday afternoon that Wilson had been transported to the Montgomery County Juvenile Detention Center.
Martin said Buckeye Valley Local Schools’ elementary schools delayed classes to avoid any risk of Wilson coming in contact with students. Delaware City Schools and the Delaware Area Career Center were also placed on lockdown for the morning.
Martin said gave the community credit for the successful manhunt.
“We’re grateful for everyone’s cooperation in this capture,” Martin said. “This collaborative effort — not only among law enforcement, but the schools, courts and others — led to a smooth and successful capture.
“Despite this young man’s criminal history, we’re hopeful he can begin to turn things around. We’re grateful the community is safer now as a result of Wilson’s capture.”
Delaware County Juvenile Court employees report that Wilson was being held in the Marion facility after he was charged with receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony, on Oct. 2. Court documents also indicate that an assault charge is currently pending in Union County after an incident in the Central Ohio Youth Center.
Martin said Wilson has an extensive criminal history that includes several violent crimes. Court documents indicate that Wilson has been adjudicated for charges such as burglary, aggravated assault and robbery.
Whited said Delaware and Marion city police, the Delaware Tactical Unit, Juvenile Court probation and a dozen canine units from throughout central Ohio who were in Sunbury for a training day all assisted in the search.
A helicopter from the Ohio State Highway Patrol was also on patrol throughout the morning.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.