Mother Son Jailbreak Backfires

( — On Sunday, December 17, Leonor Priestle apparently broke her convicted sex offender son, 39-year-old Robert Yancy Jr., out of the Clemens Unit, which is an 8,008-acre prison farm near Brazoria, Texas. Yancy was given a life sentence for sexually abusing a child over the course of 3 years, starting when she was only 7. He was convicted in March of 2022. The 10-year-old girl and her brother, who had witnessed some of the abuse, testified against him.

Priestle is a former corrections officer, and authorities believe she may have used insider knowledge to facilitate the escape. She had been to visit her son that day, when she gave him the black hat and sweater that he would later use to slip out unnoticed. He also used an ID that was not his to get through security during the escape, but it is not known how he obtained it. He fled the prison in a white 2021 Nissan Versa.

Later that same evening, police pulled over Priestle, driving the Nissan that Yancy had escaped in, arresting her and Yancy’s boyfriend, Russell Williams who was in the vehicle as well. Yancy was located and arrested by law enforcement on Monday, December 18. He was on foot, leaving a local park, at the time of his arrest. He will be facing felony escape charges as well as being returned to prison to serve out his life sentence. Williams is being charged with criminal intent to escape, while Priestle is being charged with facilitating an escape.

The Clemens Unit state prison has been the center of controversy before. In the 1990s, they removed all of their older violent inmates and replaced them with younger offenders who were mostly 25 years old or younger. A 17-year-old inmate was assaulted by others, and unable to get help, he eventually attempted suicide and died later of injuries related to the attempt. While his assailants were about his age, the case is still sometimes used as an argument that older inmates should be segregated from younger inmates. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has not responded to inquiries about the security of the prison.

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