IONIA, Mich. (AP) — A convicted murderer serving life behind bars in Michigan for four 1993 slayings is at large after he escaped from prison and apparently abducted a woman who fled his grips when he stopped for gas in Indiana, authorities said Monday.
Michael David Elliot, 40, was discovered missing about 9:30 p.m. Sunday from the Ionia Correctional Facility in mid-Michigan, Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said in an email.
"It appears that he created a hole at the bottom of the two perimeter fences of the correctional facility and then crawled through those holes," Marlan said.
Elliot apparently abducted a woman from Ionia using a knife or box cutter and drove her Jeep to Elkhart, Ind., roughly 100 miles southwest of Ionia near the Indiana-Michigan state line. The woman escaped when they stopped at a gas station, and she called police, Marlan said. He provided no information about the condition or identity of the woman, nor if she had any previous connection to Elliot.
Elliot left the gas station and was at large Monday morning, Marlan said. MDOC did not release information about where Elliot might be heading or if he has out-of-state connections. He was serving life sentences for first-degree murder in Michigan's Gladwin County and has convictions for arson and armed robbery.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Trent Smith said police around the state have been notified about Elliot's escape and the vehicle he was last seen driving. Michigan State Police said the vehicle was a 2004 red 4-door Jeep Liberty with a Michigan license plate 5FTG55 that he stole from the woman whom he abducted in Ionia.
Police don't know what direction he went after leaving the gas station.
"This happened several hours ago," Smith said early Monday. "My guess he's not sticking around the area, he's gone east, west or south."
Officers from the Michigan Department of Corrections, Michigan State Police and other law enforcement agencies are involved in the hunt for Elliot.
"Citizens should immediately call 911 if they observe anything suspicious or possibly become aware of the whereabouts of ... Elliot," Marlan said in the email.
An emergency count was conducted at the Ionia Correctional Facility and all other prisoners have been accounted for, Marlan said.