‘Very tough case,’ former US marshal says of Idaho manhunt

BOISE, Idaho (NewsNation) — A former U.S. marshal tells NewsNation that the search for a white supremacist Idaho prison inmate and an accomplice is likely to be severely complicated by the state’s rural terrain.

“The really bad part: I’m looking at is the area outside of Boise, it’s a very rural area, which means it’s very difficult to get into that terrain for law enforcement,” Art Roderick said on “NewsNation Now.”

Authorities are searching for the escapee Skylar Meade and an accomplice Nicholas Umphenour, who fled after three corrections officers were shot and wounded during the attack — two allegedly by Umphenour and one by responding police.

Police say Umphenour ambushed corrections officers in an ambulance bay at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center to help Meade escape. Officers were there to transport Meade from the hospital.

Despite the rural terrain, however, Roderick believes authorities have some unique advantages.

“This is the bread and butter of what U.S. Marshals do: Escape cases,” said Roderick. “And in this particular case, we’ve got a lot of information to go on. We know who the accomplice is, obviously, and we know who the escapee is. So there’s a lot of information you can get on their background.”

A warrant with a $2 million bond has been issued for Umphenour’s arrest on two charges of aggravated battery against law enforcement and one charge of aiding and abetting an escape, police said.

He and Meade drove off early Wednesday after the shooting in a gray 2020 Honda Civic with Idaho plates. It’s not known where they are or where they are headed, police said Wednesday evening.

Roderick believes the duo will eventually be caught but possibly not as quickly as law enforcement, or the community, would prefer.

“This could go on for a while if they’re able to get into the woods or if they’re being held up by other individuals,” he said. “But eventually, they’ll get caught.”

Umphenour, 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, has brown hair and hazel eyes, police said. Detectives have confirmed that he is an associate of Meade, police said. Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Umphenour through social media were unsuccessful.

Meade, 5-foot-6 and 150 pounds, has face tattoos with the numbers 1 and 11 — for A and K, the first and 11th letters of the alphabet, representing the Aryan Knights gang he affiliated with, Idaho Department of Correction Department Director Josh Tewalt said. Photos released by police also showed an A and K tattooed on his abdomen.

The Aryan Knights formed in the mid-1990s in the Idaho prison system to organize criminal activity for a select group of white people in custody, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in the district of Idaho.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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