Inmate uses toothbrush to escape from Chowan County jail

Posted at 10:24 AM, Mar 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-28 18:31:55-04

Chowan County, NC -  A 26-year-old man is Chowan County's most wanted criminal after escaping from the Chowan County Detention Facility on Sunday, March 27.

According to the Chowan County Sheriff's Office, the inmate, Kelvin Singleton, created a weapon-like tool from a toothbrush and forced a detention officer to release him. The escape happened around 4:00 p.m.

“We had an inmate, while they were moving them around after visitation pull a shank, or a homemade knife on one of the detention officers," Sheriff Goodwin told NewsChannel 3 Monday morning.

Kelvin Singleton

Kelvin Singleton

The detention officer was unharmed.

Kelvin Singleton

Kelvin Singleton

Singleton was last seen near the jail, around the intersection of Gale and Oakum Streets, just a few minutes after escaping the detention center, but officials say he has not been seen since then.

“We do not have any evidence showing that [there] was anybody on the outside helping him," said Goodwin.

A K-9 unit was deployed to search for Singleton and comb the area, including in abandoned houses and woods. However, according to Sheriff Goodwin, the dog could not get a good scent because of Sunday's persistent, rainy weather.

Singleton was originally incarcerated in January on robbery and second-degree kidnapping charges, according to his online court records.

His records show he is also facing assault and other charges in Mecklenburg County. According to Goodwin, Singleton was supposed to be extradited to Charlotte for those charges on Monday.

Chowan County officials say they have notified authorities in Charlotte and the U.S. Marshal of his escape.

Singleton is described as a black male, approximately 6 feet tall and of medium build.  He has a cross tattoo between his eyebrows.

Goodwin says anyone who may encounter Singleton should exercise caution and discreetly alert authorities.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time Goodwin has had an inmate escape.

"This is the second escape since I’ve been sheriff," Goodwin told NewsChannel 3.  "The first one was our fault. This one is the first time I can remember where [the inmate] ever used a weapon to perfect the escape.”

Currently the jail has 23 inmates, and two to three detention officers working at a time.

Sheriff Goodwin stated the jail will make efforts to prevent future escapes, however the jail is required to give the inmates toothbrushes.

“They sit there all day long with time to kill, so they are always thinking about ways of getting out, or things they can do," said Goodwin.

He says they have not stopped – and will not stop looking for Singleton until he is caught.