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Accused Murderer Escapes From Pinellas County Jail, Then Recaptured

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - On Wednesday, officials say an accused murderer escaped from the Pinellas County Jail, and then was caught ten minutes later near a local business.

At the Pinellas County Jail, officials say Jondreau scaled a 14-foot wall in a matter of 26 seconds while a deputy wasn't looking. It's something residents say is shocking to hear.

Solimar Ortiz, Pinellas County resident says "I feel very unsafe. How did that even happen?"

That's the question Ortiz had when she heard an accused murderer escaped the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday.

25-year-old Cody Jondreau is charged with murdering his nine-week-old baby in 2020. He fled Ohio and was arrested in Polk County in May. He then was transferred to the Pinellas County Jail to be held until he is moved back to Ohio.

"Just be on the lookout, alert, lock your doors," said Ortiz.

Pinellas County Sheriff, Bob Gualtieri, says Jondreau had a small window of time to get out, when a deputy stopped watching during recreational time.

"The inmates had indicated that they had wanted to go back in. That they were finished with rec, so he went in to use the phone to notify the people in the control room," said Gualtieri.

A video from the sheriff's office shows Jondreau taking advantage of that unmonitored time, using the corner door area to pull himself up the wall. Once he got to the top, he used his shirt to wrap around the razor wire and hoist himself up. It only took him 26 seconds.

"It's troubling and it's concerning," said Gualtieri

That's when he jumps over and starts running to a second fence outside of the jail.

"They tried to take him off the fence, they couldn't get him off the fence. He was able to scale it. He fell onto the courthouse side got up and ran," said Gualtieri.

Gualtieri says deputies had eyes on Jondreau the whole time and ended up chasing him to a nearby business called Golf Car Systems, where officers tased and arrested him.

"The only thing that he said was his plan was he was going to take an Uber to Panama," said Gualtieri.

Gualtieri says Jondreau is now locked up with high security and officials are reviewing protocols to see how they can keep this from happening again.

"We're a safe jail. We'll look at everything and make sure. It was kind of a perfect storm," said Gualtieri.

Ortiz, who works at Simply Hair, down the street from the jail, says it's still concerning.

"I have my son here. I bring my son to work. Sometimes and I always have this fear being here by myself," said Ortiz.

Sheriff Gualtieri says they are looking into whether or not the deputy who walked inside to make that phone call violated jail policies.

Jondreau broke his heel and needed 80 stitches after trying to escape the jail. After he receives medical attention, officials say he will be transported back to Ohio, where he will face the murder charges of his son.

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