Authorities capture Denver Bennett Sept. 21 after he had eluded law enforcement officers since he escaped while on an inmate work crew. / Photo courtesy Upshur County Sheriff's Office

Upshur Sheriff’s Office captures escaped convict

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Sheriff’s Office has captured the inmate who escaped Sept. 15 while serving on a work crew to prepare for the Mountain State Forest Festival in Elkins.

Upshur County Sheriff Mike Coffman said deputies found Denver F. Bennett, 30, of Valley Head, hiding in a camper located on an Upper Childers Run Road property Thursday.

“I got a tip at the office that he was seen going into a house out on Upper Childers Run, and we took off, surrounded the house and waited for additional units to get there and K-9 units,” Coffman said. “We searched that house, and he was actually hiding in a nearby camper on the same property.”

Coffman said he was in the back of the camper, buried beneath piles of clothing.

“You could just see his ankles back in the camper,” Coffman said. “He surrendered and was cooperative.”

Bennett is now in police custody and being transported to the Mt. Olive Correctional Complex, a male maximum security prison.

According to a previous story, Bennett had been transported from the Pruntytown Correctional Center & Jail in Taylor County on Sept. 15 to Elkins as part of a work crew tasked with assisting the City of Elkins with preparations for the Mountain State Forest Festival. He then eluded authorities despite two large-scale manhunts – one in Randolph County and the other in Upshur County – involving drones and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Coffman said Bennett will be charged with escape from custody in Randolph County, and the West Virginia State Police have charged 47-year-old Beverly Beckner — a female found in the camper with him — with harboring a fugitive. According to the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation website, Beckner was transported to the Tygart Valley Regional Jail.

Bennett was tired, hungry and complaining of injuries sustained in the woods while eluding authorities when he was found, Coffman said.

You can read the original story here.

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