RHINELANDER (WAOW) – The convicted murderer who failed to return to a northern Wisconsin prison camp from a work release job at a golf course got a cab ride from St. Germain to Bayfield before fleeing to Florida on a bus, an investigator said Monday.
Todd Brecht, 54, was captured at a bus station in Orlando, Fla., without incident last weekend, Lt. Dan Hess of the Oneida County Sheriff's Department said.
“I don't know why he went to Florida,” Hess said. “We don't know at this point (whether he had help).”
Brecht was convicted of first-degree murder in southern Wisconsin and had served about 28 years of a life prison sentence when he escaped Oct. 1, the sheriff's department said.
Brecht failed to return to the McNaughton Correctional Center, a minimum security prison in Lake Tomahawk, from a work-release job at a golf course in St. Germain, authorities said. He was last seen at noon that day.
Investigators traced Brecht to Bayfield by talking to the cab driver, Hess said. Where Brecht went from Bayfield remains under investigation, Hess said.
Brecht got on a bus somewhere in the Midwest, Hess said. He declined to be more specific.
After Brech't's escape, a warrant was issued for his arrest. Authorities will now begin the process of extraditing him from Florida back to Wisconsin, Hess said.
McNaughton, which has about 55 inmates, is designed to help inmates transition from major prisons to their home communities when they are nearing release on parole.
An online database shows Brecht was next eligible for parole in March.
*********************************** Officials say an inmate who walked away from a Northwoods prison has been found in Florida. Authorities with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department say Todd Brecht, 54, was on a work release at a golf course on Oct. 1, when he failed to return to the McNaughton Correctional Center.
Brecht was in prison for a homicide conviction.
Oneida County Sheriff Grady Hartman said in a press release, “I would like to thank all agencies for their cooperative investigative assistance, which led to the apprehension of the suspect.” Authorities say Brecht was taken in without incident in Orlando, Florida.
According to online court records, Brecht is now facing another felony charge for escaping. An arrest warrant was issued for him the day after he walked away from the job site.
McNaughton, which has about 55 inmates, is designed to help inmates transition from major prisons to their home communities, when they are nearing release on parole. An online database shows Brecht was next eligible for parole in March.