Working on a tip from a local resident, Sharp County authorities captured a Cherokee Village woman who had escaped from the Sharp County jail May 22, calling off a manhunt that lasted nearly 10 hours.
Jennifer Lynn Englebrecht, 19, was apprehended by Ash Flat police officer Bobby Woods just before midnight May 22.
A resident on Dry Bone Road, south of Ash Flat near the Sharp County Fairground, notified police around 11:45 p.m. that Englebrecht had just left his home in a vehicle with a man. The vehicle was described as a two-door blue car with a loud muffler.
Three minutes later Woods met the vehicle on Highway 167 near Highway 56.
"I was traveling south and they were traveling north," Woods said. "I turned around and conducted a traffic stop in the FNBC parking lot."
"I shined the spotlight in the car and she tried to duck away from it so I couldn't see her," Woods said. "I went around and cuffed her."
Englebrecht escaped from custody around 2 p.m. May 22. She and another female inmate had been taken outside the front of the jail for exercise by a jailer, Sharp County Sheriff Dale Weaver said. A few minutes not being behind bars or within a secure fence was too tempting for Englebrecht.
Englebrecht ran behind the Sharp County Health Unit and made her way to a home on Highway 354 near the Ash Flat City Park, Weaver said. Englebrecht knocked on the door of the home and asked an elderly occupant to use the phone; when the woman refused, Englebrecht fled again -- this time across the highway and into the woods nearby, Weaver said. The woman called police. Law enforcement officers from across the county scoured the area looking for Englebrecht who was barefoot and outfitted in a T-shirt and a pair of jail-issued orange pants.
"Her feet are in pretty bad shape," Weaver said. "She has to be ate up with ticks. I was just out in the woods for a couple minutes and I know I got some myself."
After searching with no success, the K9 unit from the North Arkansas Central Unit of the Department of Corrections in Calico Rock was brought in.
The dogs picked up Englebrecht's scent east of the Ash Flat City Park, Weaver said. They followed her scent to the home on Highway 354, into the woods, to the Ash Flat treatment plant, to a quarry and to a nearby creek before they lost her scent.
"As night fell we took the thermal imager from the Ash Flat Fire Department to check in the quarry to make sure she wasn't in there and didn't have an accident of some sort," Weaver said.
Nothing was found and the physical search was called off around 9:30 or 10, Weaver said.
Around 11:45 p.m. police got their break. The Dry Bone resident called police after Englebrecht had left his home -- the second time that day. He heard that she had escaped from jail after she left his home the final time, Weaver said.
What police didn't know is that Englebrecht hadn't been on foot the whole time. She had visited a cabin and borrowed or stolen a pair of pants and a pair of flip flops before visiting the home south of town, Weaver said. She even asked to borrow a T-shirt the last time she was there, the resident told Weaver.
Englebrecht was being held in jail for 266 days on a failure to comply charge, Weaver said. She was ordered into a Little Rock drug rehabilitation facility, but fled a short time later. The jail term was punishment, Weaver said. She had served 61 days. Escape charges will be filed, he said.
"She had been in and out of the juvenile court for several years before she turned 18," Weaver said. "We've dealt with her several times since then."
Police didn't see Englebrecht as a threat to the public but to herself, Weaver said. "You're afraid they'll get out and hurt themselves. She has had some problems," Weaver said.
"I'm just glad she's back in jail and off the streets," Woods said.