Authorities capture escaped felon

Posted: Thursday, January 06, 2011

ANCHORAGE — An inmate considered dangerous escaped from a Palmer prison on Wednesday, prompting a roughly six-hour search that ended in the man’s capture.

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Bill Roth / Bill Roth
Bill Roth / Bill Roth

Kent Charles Matte, 44, was taken back into custody at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, state troopers said. His escape from the Mat-Su Borough PreTrial Facility in Palmer, about 40 miles north of Anchorage, was reported by another inmate in the prison’s recreation yard, said Deputy Corrections Commissioner Sam Edwards.

Matte had escaped by opening a hole in the chain-link fence of the recreation yard at the facility where he had been in custody for three months, according to state corrections officials. He then scaled a 12-foot perimeter fence, likely using his coat to shield himself from razor wire, although he did cut himself, Edwards said.

The escaped prisoner was among three inmates in the 30-foot-by-50-foot outdoor yard. No guards were present, as allowed by protocol for non-maximum security prisoners. The yard has one camera, whose footage is intermittently monitored, Edwards said.

The breach led area schools to lock their doors and entrances.

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