TIMELINE: Inmate was on the run for hours before Harris County informed the public of his escape (2024)

The search for an escaped inmate from the Harris County Jail came to a close early Friday morning after authorities were able to locate and capture him at his mother’s house several hours after his disappearance.

  • SEE ALSO: Escaped Houston inmate captured at mom’s home, 2 others arrested for hindering

The 35-year-old fugitive, Nigel Sanders, was found inside the home on Force Street in the Cloverleaf area of east Harris County.

Sanders had been booked into the jail on June 8 on four felony cases and had only been there for five days before he escaped, records show.

  • RELATED: Police believe Nigel Sanders among thieves who caused thousands in damages at E. Harris County boxing gym, ministry

What happened

According to court documents, Deputy A. Doss and others were made aware of the inmate’s disappearance around 1 p.m. Thursday.

Doss said he began to investigate and observed surveillance video that had been taken from one of the cameras at 1301 Franklin. Doss reported seeing an inmate in a jail-issued uniform and black hoodie exiting the building through an unsecured entrance. The deputy said he noticed the extremely unusual behavior and said it was alarming because it indicated that an inmate had likely escaped from the jail.

After initiating a lockdown, Doss said that he and the other deputies working at the jail took a headcount and determined that the suspect was, in fact, Nigel Sanders.

Doss began investigating further and said it appeared Sanders had exited from the tunnels through an unsecured entrance.

The tunnels reportedly connect several secured detention facilities underground, and Doss said at some times, there are 50 to 60 inmates moving back and forth through them at a time.

Tracing the inmate’s steps, Doss reported observing a hole in the drop ceiling of the tunnels on the secure side which is where he believes Sanders used to climb up into the ceiling.

It is believed that Sanders must have climbed from the secure side of the court tunnels to the unsecured side of the court tunnels while he was walking on his way back from court.

Doss continued to follow the only possible pathway from that breach in the tunnel ceiling to the unsecured entrance he noticed in the surveillance video.

While walking the inmate’s pathway, Doss also reportedly found orange slippers and other materials that resembled inmate clothing.

At the time he was investigating the inmate’s escape, Doss said was made aware of an aggravated robbery that occurred in a sally port of 1301 Franklin Street. He discovered that the robbery was related to the escapee.

According to investigators, a woman who works as an administrative assistant for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office was sitting in her vehicle after just parking it in the sallyport of 1301 Franklin Street.

The woman was reportedly sitting in her unlocked car, on her phone. When she looked up, she noticed the inmate attempting to enter several unattended, parked cars.

Court documents show that the woman and Sanders made eye contact, which caused him to immediately approach her and also open her car door. He forcibly tried to grab her out of the car, but she fought back, ultimately leading him to push his way into the vehicle.

Sanders allegedly stuck a knife in the woman’s face while repeatedly saying, “Get the f*ck out of the car or I will, I’ll do it.”

While struggling to keep from being stabbed, the woman ended up crashing into three parked vehicles, which caused her car to become disabled. She exited the car and was able to get away from the suspect.

Court documents also show that investigators believe Sanders got the knife and the black hoodie from a break room for Aramark employees. One of the Aramark employees told authorities that it was her hoodie and inside of it was a pocket knife that she uses to cook food and for other utilitarian tasks.

While community tips played a crucial role in locating Sanders, authorities are still working to determine the other details of his disappearance - like how he managed to travel from downtown to the location of his arrest.

KPRC 2 is working to figure out the time difference between when he escaped and when law enforcement officials made the public aware of his disappearance.


June 13, 2024 | Around 1 p.m.

Authorities were notified of the escaped inmate and spread the information to all other Harris County Detention staff members, according to court records.

Around 3:30 p.m.

Officials from the DA’s office and Precinct 1 were made aware of the aggravated robbery where Sanders broke into an employee’s vehicle and demanded her, at knife-point, to drive. The DA’s office also informed HCSO that they may have had an escape.

At this time, authorities are labeling the altercation between the suspect and the employee as an Aggravated Robbery felony charge.

4:35 p.m.

The public was initially made aware of the inmate’s escape by the University of Houston-Downtown which let students and faculty members know about the threat via social media.

UHD ALERT: SECURE! Downtown OUTSIDE Police Action. Get indoors immediately. Lock outside doors. Avoid Windows. PD responding

— UHDowntown (@uhdowntown) June 13, 2024

4:50 p.m.

KPRC 2 asked the Harris County Sheriff’s Office about the inmate’s escape. They confirmed that there was a possible escapee from one of the jails but were still working to officially determine if there was an escapee. At that time, they also informed us that there was a perimeter setup.

5:22 p.m.

Jeff McShan, spokesperson for the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office, told KPRC 2 that Precinct 1 would be the lead agency in the search. McShan confirmed that the search was for the alleged escapee from the courthouse. He also said that Sanders reportedly tried to carjack a woman employee at knifepoint before he took off running and jumped into Buffalo Bayou.

5:52 p.m.

The Houston Police Department posted on X that downtown officers were assisting HCSO and Pct. 1 Constables office in the search. They didn’t provide much detail like a name or description of the suspect but said that he was wearing orange pants and a black shirt.

Downtown officers are assisting HCSO and Pct. 1 Constables searching for a possible escaped prisoner 1200 Commerce. Male was last reported wearing orange pants and a black shirt. Call 911 if sighted. 202 pic.twitter.com/y9j6cdi53w

— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) June 13, 2024

5:51 p.m.

Jeff McShann told KPRC 2 that the suspect had allegedly climbed down a pipe to escape.

6:48 p.m.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office held its first press conference regarding the disappearance of the inmate.

7:07 p.m.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office released its first image and details of the suspect, noting that he was considered armed and dangerous.

@HCSOTexas has identified the escaped inmate as Joshua Nigel Thomas Sanders, age 35, approximately 5 feet 5 inches tall and 140 lbs. He is considered to be dangerous. If sighted call 911. #HOUnews @SheriffEd_HCSO pic.twitter.com/cplWZ73Zwv

— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) June 14, 2024

7:24 p.m.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg’s office released details surrounding the inmate’s escape.

“Earlier today, one of our employees was held against her will by a man with a knife who apparently escaped from official custody. We are thankful and grateful that she was not physically harmed during this incident.

The general public should be on heightened alert that this man has yet to be apprehended, but we are confident that law enforcement will be able to find and apprehend the suspect.

Once he is arrested, we expect to prosecute this defendant and seek justice in this case.”

June 14, 2024 | 3:34 a.m.

HCSO announced that Sanders had been captured in east Harris County, around 30 minutes after his arrest.

UPDATE: As of 3:00 a.m. on June 14th, escaped inmate Joshua Nigel Thomas Sanders has been captured. Sanders was apprehended by the Violent Offenders Fugitive Task Force in East Harris County, District 3 area. There will be a news briefing at 4:00 a.m. #HOUnews pic.twitter.com/U7tTTT55lV

— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) June 14, 2024

5:00 a.m.

HCSO held a media briefing regarding the search and capture of Nigel Sanders.

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TIMELINE: Inmate was on the run for hours before Harris County informed the public of his escape (2024)


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