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Leon Taylor, Murder Suspect Being Extradited From Texas, Escapes Custody In Gary, Indiana

GARY, Ind. (CBS) -- A murder suspect escaped from custody Monday afternoon while being extradited to Northwest Indiana from Texas, officials said.

As CBS 2's Dana Kozlov reported, Leon Taylor, 22, escaped from a McDonald's drive-through in Gary around 3 p.m. He is wanted in a murder in East Chicago, Indiana, and he is considered dangerous.

He remained on the lam as of Tuesday morning, and the area where he escaped remained on alert. Northwest Indiana residents received an emergency alert on their cell phones during the evening, some as late as 3 a.m. on Tuesday.

An agent from REDI Transports of Green Bay, Wisconsin had been transporting Taylor from Texas when he escaped from the McDonald's drive-through in the area of 35th Avenue and Grant Street in Gary, according to the Lake County, Indiana Sheriff's office.

"I just seen a huge commotion – police everywhere," said DoorDash driver Nova Carmichael.

Carmichael drove up to the Gary McDonald's as the search for Taylor was in full swing.

"They had three or four helicopters in the sky, they had tanks rolling down – so they were really trying to catch this guy," she said.

Carmichael captured some of the search on her phone. Gary police and Lake County, Indiana Sheriff's deputies blanketed the area after Taylor escaped through the window of a private transport vehicle as he was being extradited from Texas to the Lake County Jail.

An agent from REDI Transports of Green Bay, Wis., had been transporting Taylor when he escaped, the sheriff's office said. It was not specified how he escaped.

Crystal Cook, the president of REDI Transports, confirmed the window escape. Cook said Taylor was restrained in a belly chain with handcuffs and a leg brace at the time, but still managed to get away.

She does not yet know whether her employee, the driver, ran after him.

There are a lot of abandoned buildings in the area of Gary where Taylor escaped. He is from Hammond, and there is a belief that someone could be helping him – but the concern is he could be anywhere.

Taylor is a Black male standing 6 feet tall and weighing 162 pounds, with hazel eyes and brown hair.

Leon Taylor
(Credit: Lake County, Indiana Sheriff's Office)
Leon Taylor
(Credit: Lake County, Indiana Sheriff's Office)

All extraditions outside a radius of 250 miles from Lake County are handled by the courts, and then sheriff's department is notified of the estimated time of arrival to the county jail. In this case, the sheriff' office is assisting due to where Taylor escaped and the fact that he was being taken to the county jail.

Taylor, again, is considered to be dangerous. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call 911.

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