Manhunt for 3 escapees

Posted on Oct 12 1999

Police are hunting down one inmate and two detainees who bolted out of prison at around 7:46 p.m. Sunday, the fourth jailbreak under the administration of Public Safety Commissioner Charles Ingram.

The Department of Public Safety has ordered a massive manhunt for the immediate arrest of 19-year-old Shawn Appleby, 22-year-old Jeronimo S. Ada and 27-year-old Melvin S. Basa.

Appleby is serving a 40-year sentence for killing Korean businessman Byung Ok Suh in November 1996 after robbing the victim’s store, Chalan Market.

The third child in a family of four, Appleby has a string of criminal records: theft, resisting arrest, assault with a dangerous weapon, and criminal mischief.

Ada and Basa are facing 37 counts of criminal charges, including kidnapping, assault and battery, robbery and illegal carrying of firearm in connection with a riot in Koblerville on July 11, 1999.

Police discovered the jailbreak when Officer Edwin Aguon who was off-duty at that time called the DPS dispatch to inform them that he saw Ada in a green jeep parked in Susupe Village. “He just called to verify if Ada was indeed supposed to be in prison since he saw him in the area and he was told yes,” the source said.

The Division of Corrections immediately raised the alarm and ordered a prison lock down. The three were only confirmed missing after a head count.

An investigation is being conducted to determine why one of the prison doors was left unlocked.

“If it is determined that the rules and regulations have been violated by some people in the department, then definitely we will impose the right punishment,” said Ingram.

According to police, Appleby was last seen wearing a blue tank top, a pair of shorts and white tennis shoes. Ada was wearing a purple T-shirt, blue jeans and zorries, while Basa was wearing beige shorts, white shirt (baseball jersey like) with green emblems and zorries. All three men have tattoos on their bodies and have very short hair.

Since Sunday night, police have been searching for the three escapees. working on leads phoned in to the police.

DPS Public Information Officer Rose Ada said the Tactical Response Enforcement Team has been activated to help out recapture the three.

“These people are considered dangerous so we are asking the people to lock their doors and report any suspicious looking individual within their vicinity,” she said.

Earlier, the mother of escapee Ada, appealed to her son over radio station Power 99 to surrender immediately to DPS.

It will be recalled that eight prisoners escaped from the poorly secured detention in Susupe last February, touted as one of the biggest and most daring jailbreaks in the Northern Marianas in recent years. The eight had all been arrested.

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