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Man who escaped from Ohio prison drowned, autopsy shows

Bradley Gillespie, 50, was reported missing last week from the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution in Lima with another man. Authorities determined they concealed themselves in a trash container.
/ Source: The Associated Press

HENDERSON, Ky. — A man who escaped from a northwest Ohio prison this month drowned, according to autopsy results released Wednesday.

Bradley Gillespie, 50, was reported missing May 23 from the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution in Lima along with another man who authorities said escaped alongside him. Authorities determined the two escaped by concealing themselves in a trash container.

Bradley Gillespie.
Bradley Gillespie.Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction via AP

The other man, James Lee, 47, was caught the next day in Henderson, Kentucky, after a police pursuit of a stolen car the men were in ended in a crash and a foot chase, but Gillespie avoided capture. 

His body was spotted Sunday in the Ohio River, not far from the area where he was last seen. Henderson is a city across the river from Indiana and about 350 miles southwest of Lima.

The Henderson County coroner’s office released the preliminary autopsy results Wednesday and said toxicology results won’t be available for several weeks.

Gillespie was imprisoned since 2016 and was convicted of a double homicide. Lee was serving a sentence imposed in 2021 for burglary and safecracking.

A major and three corrections officers at the prison have been placed on paid administrative leave, and similar action may be taken against others as the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s internal investigation continues, officials have said.

A criminal investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol is also ongoing.