FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A 21-year-old man who authorities say walked out of a Tarrant County courtroom before jury selection for his criminal trial was captured Thursday night, four days after he ditched his ankle monitor and disappeared.
Tarrant County spokeswoman Melody McDonald said Patton McKendrick III and his family quietly exited the courtroom on Monday “shortly before jury selection was to begin in his trial.”
They failed to return. Minutes later, Tarrant County authorities noticed McKendrick’s GPS ankle monitor was removed in the courtroom and the hunt was on.
“McKendrick, who was about to be tried on a charge of aggravated robbery, was now officially a fugitive from justice,” McDonald wrote in an email.
McDonald said authorities called District Attorney Investigator Mark Thornhill, who also happens to be a deputy with the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force. McDonald said he assembled a six-member team and “quickly went to work.”
Thornhill pressured McKendrick’s uncooperative family, who McDonald said left the courtroom with him. And on Thursday, Thornhill’s team managed to locate McKendrick inside his girlfriend’s apartment in Arlington.
“He couldn’t believe we found him so quick,” McDonald quoted Thornhill as saying. “His family couldn’t either.”
The 21-year-old is back in the Tarrant County Jail and faces a bail jumping charge in addition to aggravated robbery.
In a prepared quote, Assistant District Attorney Colin McLaughlin praised Thornhill’s work, and ended McDonald’s press release with a kicker: “We look forward to giving Mr. Kendrick his day in court.”