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Vinita inmate escapee returned to custody at Northeastern Oklahoma Correctional Facility

Posted at 7:36 AM, Aug 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-09 13:29:56-04

VINITA, Okla. -- The inmate who escaped from the Northeastern Oklahoma Correctional Center Sunday night has been returned, says authorities.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections confirmed that William Stewart was placed behind bars once again around 11 p.m. Monday night. The Oklahoma DOC says Stewart was found around five miles from the facility. 

A DOC spokesperson says they were tipped off to Stewart's location after noticing a vehicle circling the facility.

The vehicle was being driven by Tiffany Blair (left) and Sheila Mitchell (right), according to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Both women were arrested for possession of marijuana.

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After being taken into custody, both women confessed to working with William Stewart's mother, Pauline Suddaph.

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After issuing a traffic stop, DOC members arrested two women inside the car for possession of marijuana. Eventually, reports the DOC, the women allegedly confessed to coordinating with Stewart's mother for his escape.

Authorities say they surrounded the area where Stewart was found and "flushed him out of the woods."

Corrections officers noticed William Stewart was missing from the Vinita facility during a headcount. The facility is minimum security where prisoners are allowed to walk freely, which is how Stewart escaped, say officials.

Citizens were told to be alert prompting many of them to overly cautious.

Maxine Beisley says she took precautions right away after hearing about the escaped inmate.

"Immediately I thought, are our keys in the car? And one was, and so I stepped to the door and with the remote I locked the car doors.”

Craig County sheriff’s officials say surveillance video showed William Stewart walking out of the prison yard between 6 and 8 p.m.

Stewart began serving his sentence at the NEOCC in 2014 for possession of a controlled substance.

Jail records show this is Stewart's fourth time to escape from prison. In the 90s he escaped from the Mayes and Craig County jails. Stewart is expected to serve his sentence at the until 2022.