Update: Final escaped inmate caught after being spotted by 911 caller

He was arrested after someone spotted him in a Minneapolis park.
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The search for an inmate who escaped in a stolen prison van is over.

Minneapolis police tweeted around 4:30 p.m. Friday that James Douglas Mitchell, 26, has been arrested. Authorities say someone spotted him in a Minneapolis park and called 911.

Then authorities found him on I-35W.

The updates from earlier Friday are below.

An inmate is on the run after a prisoner stole a van and fled Friday morning.

The van, which was coming from the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud, made a stop at the Lino Lakes correctional facility. That's where an inmate "gained control" of the van, Sarah Fitzgerald, of the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC), says.

There were nine inmates in the vehicle at the time. Five were arrested in the Mounds View area by local police around 11:30 a.m., and around noon three others were arrested in North Minneapolis, where the van was also found, the DOC says.

James Douglas Mitchell, a 26-year-old who was convicted of assault, is still missing. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans and a blue button-down shirt, the DOC says.

Police were focusing their search for Mitchell in North Minneapolis, but at 1:42 p.m. said they'd cleared the search area because there's no credible information Mitchell is still there.

The search area was near where the missing prison van was found by someone in the neighborhood. They called 911, and the person stayed with the van – and the three inmates who were still inside – until police arrived, Corey Schmidt with the Minneapolis Police Department told GoMN.

The original story from earlier Friday is below. 

Five prisoners are at large after an inmate took control of a van.

The Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) says an offender at the Lino Lakes correctional facility "has taken control" of a 2011 white Ford van, with Minnesota license plate 937 EPJ.

There were multiple inmates in the van, and five total offenders are at large. The escaped inmates have been identified as:

– James Douglas Mitchell, 26. Sentenced in December of 2014, with an assault charge being the most serious offense. He was expected to be released in November of 2024. Records say he's been at St. Cloud correctional facility since Jan. 11 of this year.

Kevin Ladell Mitchell, 31. Sentenced on Feb. 27 of this year, with a domestic assault the most serious charge. His sentence was until August of 2018, but he was expected to get out in January of 2018. He was at St. Cloud.

Mitchell Dale Saltzman, 36. Sentenced on Feb. 27 of this year with an assault charge the most serious. His sentence ran until September of 2019, expected release date was June of 2018. He was at St. Cloud. 

Dylan Cantrell Bathke, 2o. Sentence on April 26 of this year, with an assault the most serious. His sentence ran until February of 2018, but was expected to get out in August of this year. He is listed at St. Cloud too.

Paul Jerome Thunder, 39. Sentenced on March 28 of this year, with a weapons charge the most serious. His sentence was supposed to be done in August 2020, expected to get out May of 2019. Also listed at St. Cloud.

The DOC says the situation is developing. People shouldn't approach the vehicle, but should call 911 if they see it.

The Anoka County Sheriff's Office told GoMN multiple agencies are responding to the incident. No other information has been released.

The Star Tribune is reporting the incident happened just before 11 a.m., noting five other inmates were arrested at gunpoint.

The Lino Lakes correctional facility has medium-security and minimum-security units, with a population of 1,300 men, with the facility's website saying "in many cases offenders serve the final phase of their sentence at MCF-Lino Lakes so they can obtain the services they need to prepare for release."

People don't escape from prisons very often in Minnesota, according to a 2015 MinnPost story. From 2005-2015, only 11 inmates escaped from state correctional facilities. In each incident, the inmates just walked away from the facility, the publication says.

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