UPDATE (3/14/19 8:12 p.m.):
Pickens County deputies arrested an inmate Thursday that escaped from the Pickens County Detention Center Sunday.
Chief Deputy Creed Hashe said they arrested Steven Leroy Aikens, 45, just before 7 p.m. at a residence on Morning Dew Ct. in Liberty.
Hashe said they sheriff’s office received additional leads and information from the public that helped lead to the arrest of Aikens.
He has been charged with an additional escape charge. He was taken back to the Pickens County Detention Center.
ORIGINAL (3/11/19 4:07 p.m.):
Deputies in Pickens County said Monday that the inmate who escaped prison Sunday did not scale a fence to get out, but instead went out through an open door.
7-News originally reported that deputies believed 45-year-old Steven Leroy Aiken scaled a perimeter fence and ran from prison Sunday afternoon.
According to a new sheriff’s office release, the escape occurred when a perimeter door was opened in order to bring laundry into the facility.
Aiken was reportedly wearing orange pants and a white shirt and was last seen running towards Concord Church Road.
He is 5’11” tall and weighs 143 pounds with black hair. He was serving 128 days at the Pickens County Prison on Prison Camp Road for Family Court violations.
Aikens has been in the prison since early January for Failing to Pay Child Support as Ordered. He is also awating trial on charges of Domestic Violence and Malicious Injury to Property.
Neighbors in the area told 7-News Monday that many elderly people living in the communities surrounding the prison tend to get nervous when someone escapes.
“They’ve had problems with them breaking into houses around here before. This aint nothing new,” explained neighbor Jack Allen. “Especially people who have lived around here for a long time, they get used to it.”
In December, two inmates escaped after stealing detention officers keys and locking them in a room.
One inmate broke into a woman’s home nearby, where she shot and killed him to reportedly protect herself.
“You know if that woman wouldn’t have had that gun, there’s no telling what they would do. She was by herself so you know, I feel sorry for her,” said Allen.
Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark announced in a December press conference shortly after, that escapes don’t happen often.
“It’s very rare but it does happen occasionally,” he told reporters.
In June, a 24-year-old inmate escaped the prison, leading to a brief foot-chase before he was apprehended.
Allen said Monday that many in the community are counting down until the new county jail project is complete because they question the security measures in place at the current facility.
“It’s not a security place, you know, top security and all that. But my understanding is they will move all of the inmates over to the jail when they get it built. And it’s supposed to be a top security place, they can’t escape from it.”
According to the Pickens County Sheriff’s office, the prison is a minimum security facility that was built in 1965.
The new county jail is expected to be complete in May or April.
Deputies ask anyone who may have seen Aiken or know of his whereabouts to call the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office at 864-898-5500.