Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

December 11, 2012

Inmate escapes from sheriff’s custody

Brunnell had been transported to courthouse for court appearance; prisoner escaped by getting into a woman’s car

MARK NEWMAN
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — A fugitive is being hunted by police after he escaped custody Monday with help from an accomplice.

The prisoner, Curtis Wayne Bunnell, 38, of Oskaloosa, was being held on a charge of first-degree robbery, a Class B felony, after he allegedly robbed an Ottumwa landlord at gunpoint last month.

He was being held in Wapello County Jail on $25,000 cash-only bond. Bunnell had been transported to the Wapello County Courthouse for a court appearance Monday morning when he escaped from the custody of the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office, a press release said.

Bunnell is described as a white male, 5 feet 11 inches tall, with a slim build, brown hair and brown eyes. According to scanner traffic, a sheriff’s department employee found an orange county jail jumpsuit, so Bunnell is likely in street clothes.

The prisoner escaped by getting into a woman’s car, a witness told dispatchers.  

The press release from the sheriff’s office states a warrant for aiding and abetting escape is being issued for Latisha Bunnell, 27, for allegedly aiding in the escape of Curtis Bunnell. She is described as a white female, 5 feet 2 inches tall, 110 pounds, brown hair and blue eyes. Latisha’s photo shows her with facial piercings.  

Last month, Curtis allegedly called an Ottumwa landlord expressing interest in renting. After speaking with the man and filling out a rental application at the residence, the suspect allegedly went into the bathroom, came out with a gun and pointed it at the landlord, demanding his money.

The landlord gave the man $800 to $900 from his pocket, as well as a fake $1 million bill and fake $10 million bill.

The Courier reported that the man then got into a car and fled the scene, and that the same day, neighbors described the car to officers and said another person was in the vehicle while the suspect was inside with the landlord.

After an investigation over the course of a weekend, officers charged Bunnell with first-degree robbery. He pleaded not guilty.

He is now facing additional charges, including escape. He also faces separate felony theft charges out of Polk County

Anyone with information on either fugitive is asked to contact local law enforcement.