Three men who escaped from William S. Key Correctional Center Sunday night were apprehended approximately seven miles north of the facility within 19 hours of their escape.

Dale Beaumont, Bruce Leverich, and Joseph Sherfield were all accounted for at an 8 p.m. inmate count Sunday, but by the 10 p.m. count they were missing, said Donna Burkhalter, public information officer for the correctional center.

She said since the correctional center is a minimum security facility and does not have a protective fence, the men were probably able to just walk off the center’s campus. She further explained that there are only approximately 20 staff members at any time who are in charge of 1,100 inmates.

However, by 3 p.m. Monday, she said members of the William S. Key Correctional Emergency Response Team, which is a specially trained team of 16 officers, located the escapees in some canyons north of Fort Supply.

“The apprehension went smooth,” she said. “There were no problems.”

Burkhalter said the team had been concentrating its efforts in that area because of evidence, such as footprints discovered near the Beaver River, indicating the inmates were probably there.

And their efforts, as well as those of the other assisting agencies, paid off when the convicts were discovered and arrested.

One of the men had to be taken to a hospital because of a pre-existing medical condition for which he was treated, Burkhalter said.

The men were then transported to James Crabtree Correctional Center, a medium security facility in Helena, she said.

Beaumont, 39, of Okfuskee County, had been at William S. Key since April 3 and was serving time for larceny of domestic animals.

Leverich, 29, of Payne County, had been serving time at the center since Feb. 15 for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Sherfield, 20, of Oklahoma County, was serving time for two second degree burglary convictions and had been at the center since Nov. 4, 2006.

The men were charged with escape from a penal institution, a felony, Monday in Woodward County District Court.

Burkhalter said the men are also suspects in a burglary that occurred in the area sometime Monday.

Since a portion of the search occurred in Harper County, she said the Harper County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Woodward County Sheriff’s Office assisted in looking for the escape convicts.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol also assisted, including using the patrol’s plane to assist with the search..

She said another correctional team from John Lilley Correctional Center in Boley brought in some search dogs to lend their expertise to help track the convicts.

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