Teens who escaped Putnam County detention facility captured

Jonathan Smith (L) and Robbie Syverson (R) (Courtesy: Putnam County Sheriff's Office)
Jonathan Smith (L) and Robbie Syverson (R) (Courtesy: Putnam County Sheriff's Office)

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Two teens who escaped from a Putnam County juvenile detention facility Friday night were captured on Saturday.

The Putnam County Sheriff’s Department said 16-year-old Robbie Syverson and Jonathan Smith, 15, overpowered a corrections deputy around 8:40 p.m. Friday night and handcuffed him to a fixed object inside the facility.

The teens then took the deputy’s keys and drove away in his gray 2003 Chevy pickup truck.

The truck was found at an abandoned house in Overton County and the teens were soon located by officers at the Triangle Gas Station on East Main Street. They were transported back to the juvenile detention facility.

Both were charged with aggravated assault and escape.

The department reported additional charges may be filed against anyone who aided and abetted the juveniles to evade law enforcement and a request will be made to the judge to have the two juveniles charged as adults.

“This incident is a good illustration of the danger inmates pose to our deputies and staff every day regardless of their age or maturity,” said Tim Nash, Chief of Corrections for the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. “Thankfully, the deputy sustained only minor injuries and the other detainees within the facility were unharmed.”

The Putnam County Juvenile Detention Center is housed in an older facility that was not originally designed to house high risk offenders and is still designated as a minimum security facility.

However, there were some policies and procedures that were violated last night and Sheriff Eddie Farris said they will not be tolerated and will be corrected, according to a release.

“While this incident did take place, I am pleased with the overwhelming response of our law enforcement partners in the surrounding communities that assisted us and enable us to make a quick arrest of these two violent offenders,” said Sheriff Farris.

There is an ongoing investigation into this incident. If anyone has additional information regarding this incident, they are encouraged to call the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office at 931-258-8484.

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