Stabbed deputy may have been only officer in holding cell

Stabbed deputy may have been only officer in holding cell with runaway prisoner

Posted: Updated:
DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) -

Fox 2's Taryn Asher has learned standard jail transfer procedure calls for inmates to be brought over from the jail in a tunnel. The inmates are then brought up to the holding cell in an elevator not open to the public.

One deputy is allowed to transfer several inmates, but in that holding cell is where at least two deputies must be present during the uncuffing of inmates.

Early investigation leads authorities to believe 63-year-old Harrison Tolliver was the only sheriff's deputy in the holding cell at the time of Abraham Pearson's alleged escape, which would be against standard procedure.

A thorough search of every inmate is also required, as no metal detectors are passed through during the journey from the jail to the courtroom. Since Pearson is believed to have used a make-shift shank made from a comb, a metal detector would not have sensed the device anyway, but it is unclear at this time if Pearson was even searched in the first place, or if the device was not detected in the search.

VIDEO: Fox 2's Taryn Asher breaks down jail transfer protocol

Police say Pearson escaped from the holding cell at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice early Monday morning. Police believe he stabbed Tolliver, stole and put on Tolliver's uniform, walked out of the courthouse then proceeded to carjack a motorist.

Asher reports Pearson escaped with the deputy's radio, which has since been deactivated. Pearson also escaped with a cell phone from the carjacking. Police are following up on all of those leads.

Police believe Pearson is still in the area of Jefferson and Helen. He was spotted earlier at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. High School.

Police say one woman visited Pearson frequently throughout his time behind bars. Police have taken that woman in for questioning and are able to hold her due to a felony warrant out for her arrest.

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