Police look for murderer who escaped from Ohio prison

NELSONVILLE, Ohio (AP) — An inmate serving time for the murder of a woman at his home escaped from prison, provoking a manhunt and the closure of a nearby college on Monday.

John Modie was reported missing during a Sunday night prisoner count at the Hocking Unit of the Southeastern Correctional Complex in Nelsonville, state prison officials said. Authorities said Monday that a thorough search of the prison confirmed Modie had escaped.

The state Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said it was working with local law enforcement agencies and the State Highway Patrol to look for the 58-year-old inmate.

“All available resources are being utilized to apprehend John Modie,” the department said.

The Pike County sheriff issued a bulletin that said Modie could be in a gold-colored Jeep Grand Cherokee with two women. The bulletin said Modie should have cuts from razor wire, could be traveling south or to neighboring Ross County and should be considered armed and dangerous.

Modie is white, 6-foot-4 and around 230 pounds. He has gray hair and a gray mustache and was last seen wearing a blue hoodie, a gray sweat shirt and blue pants.

Hocking College, about 2 miles from the prison, closed its campuses Monday as a result of his escape. It urged those on campus to remain indoors and report any suspicious activity to college police.

Modie was serving 18 years to life for convictions on murder, robbery and escape charges.

Cleveland.com reported that Modie was accused of beating to death Ucianna Ortiz at his Cleveland home in October 2002 and then dumping her body along an interstate in the city.

Days after the body was found, Modie was arrested in Texas while driving a car he had stolen from someone else in Cleveland. A coroner ruled that Ortiz died from blunt trauma to the head.

Modie, who was accused of walking away from the Cuyahoga County jail following his arrest, pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to prison in December 2003.

Authorities were asking for the public’s assistance in reporting anything suspicious to law enforcement. They said they suspect Modie may seek shelter considering storms that passed through overnight.

Modie was convicted in Cuyahoga County, in northeast Ohio, but has family ties in southeast Ohio, authorities said.