PALO ALTO (CBS SF) – Authorities on Wednesday offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of two inmates who escaped from custody at a Palo Alto courthouse Monday and are still at large.
The two inmates, 47-year-old Tramel McClough and 46-year-old John Bivins, were heading to an appearance at the Santa Clara County Superior Court in Palo Alto at about 9:30 a.m. Monday morning. As the deputies were escorting the inmates to court, the inmates somehow caused a distraction.
At that point, McClough and Bivins — one of whom was in chains and shackles and the other in handcuffs — bolted for a nearby emergency exit. It isn’t clear which prisoner had the heavy set of restraints.
Other inmates who were with the duo as they were being led to court didn’t attempt to escape.
A deputy gave chase to the two inmates but was unable to apprehend them. The pair then got into a waiting 1980s-model Toyota Corolla about 50 to 60 yards from the courthouse. The pair and those who accompanied them in the getaway vehicle then dumped the Toyota at an undisclosed location, got into the U-Haul, drove away and haven’t been seen since.
The inmates appeared to have a handcuff key in their possession sometime during the escape, although it’s unclear how they acquired it.
On Tuesday, two people were arrested in connection with helping the inmates in their escape from the courthouse, Santa Clara County sheriff’s officials said.
Marquita Kirk and Rene Hunt were both arrested on suspicion of conspiracy and being an accessory after the fact for the brazen escape.
Kirk, 44, of Sunnyvale, was arrested at about 5 a.m. Tuesday in Sunnyvale. She allegedly rented a U-Haul truck and staged it near the courthouse to serve as a getaway vehicle. Additionally, she has a long-standing relationship with McClough, sheriff’s officials said.
Information about Hunt’s arrest or his involvement in the inmates’ escape was not immediately available.
Bivins is described as a 5 foot 9 inch, 180 pound black man with brown eyes and black hair. McClough is a 6 foot, 4 inch black man who weighs 285 pounds. Both inmates had jumpsuits with orange tops and gray pants which were still wearing as they escaped.
Both men were arrested in February on suspicion of stealing $64,400 worth of cellphones and other merchandise from a Verizon store in Sunnyvale, police said earlier this year.
Anyone who sees them is advised to call 911 or the sheriff’s office at (408) 808-3670. The suspects are to be considered dangerous.