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Sebastian County Christmas Eve escapees returned to jail

After escaping from the Sebastian County Detention Center, Dustin Smith and Jeremiah Slavens have been placed back in custody.

SEBASTIAN COUNTY, Ark — The sheriff's office reported that Dustin Smith and Jeremiah Slavens have been placed back in custody after escaping from the Sebastian County Detention Center on Christmas Eve. 

According to Captain Philip Pevehouse with the Sebastian County Sheriff's Office (SCSO), around 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24, jail officials realized two inmates had escaped from the facility.

39-year-old Jeremiah Slavens was located off Grand Avenue in Fort Smith on Friday, Dec. 24, and was returned to jail. 

36-year-old Dustin Smith was located in Oklahoma on Christmas at 1:00 p.m. The Sebastian County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) worked with multiple Oklahoma agencies to return Smith to Fort Smith and place him back in jail. 

According to SCSO, the two men were able to force up a light in the shower of a pod and create a hole in the ceiling, allowing them to enter the void between the ceiling and the roof.

They two then used an electronic tabled, that had not been turned in, as a light source. Officials say the men found an iron worker's sleever bar, that could've been there for decades, and used it to pry open a joint in the roof. 

Once on the roof, the inmates rappeled down the north side of the building using a water hose they found. 

Officials say procedures and policies were not followed as to shift headcounts and pod inspections. The SCSO says timely notifications were not made.

Credit: Sebastian County Sheriff's Office
Dustin Smith and Jeremiah Slavens

Slavens had only been in the jail for three days for failure to appear in court, possession of drug paraphernalia and theft. 

Smith had been in the detention center for over a month for parole violations, felon in possession of a firearm, theft and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

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