CANON CITY, Colo. (WOOD) - Two men who escaped from a minimum security Lake County correctional facility and their girlfriends have been apprehended in Colorado after nearly two weeks on the run.
Escapees Gregory Bradshaw, 23, and Kenneth Grauman II, 32, and their girlfriends, 29-year-old Laura Lee Grauman (Kenneth's cousin) and 17-year-old Brittany Rector, were found at a motel in Canon City, Colo., Allegan Police Chief Rick Hoyer told 24 Hour News 8 Thursday evening.
KOAA, the NBC affiliate out of Colorado Springs, confirmed through the Canon City police chief that there was an active methamphetamine lab found in the escapee's motel room. The entire motel had to be evacuated, though no one was hurt, and authorities remained on the scene as of 11 p.m. EDT -- four hours after the arrests.
The police chief told KOAA the four suspects checked into the Budget Host Royal Gorge Inn on Wednesday.
Steve Hetherington, supervisor of the US Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force in West Michigan, told 24 Hour News 8 Thursday night that they developed information by interviewing friends and others that the four may head to Canon City, where they knew someone.
"When we developed further information that we thought it was likely they were headed that way, we sent the whole case file out there," said Hetherington.
West Michigan authorities worked with authorities in and around Canon City, including the Canon City Police Department, the Fremont County Sheriff's Department and the closest US Marshals Office. They started looking for the vehicle they thought the fugitives might be in -- a silver GMC pickup truck stolen in Kokomo, Ind. last week. But they never found it.
"The next logical step was, where do these guys sleep?" said Hetherington.
Authorities in Canon City canvassed the area, taking photos to local motels. They got a hit at the Budget Host Royal Gorge Inn.
"They set up surveillance and watched this one motel for quite some time," said Hetherington.
Around 7 p.m EDT Thursday, Bradshaw and Grauman were arrested at the motel by a Pueblo County SWAT team.
"They went down without a fight," said Hetherington.
Canon City police told KOAA that the two men were arrested just as they were about the enter their motel room and were armed, but did not go into specifics about the weapons they carried.
The women were arrested, shortly after the men, in a vehicle that authorities believe was stolen in Iowa.
"These guys were basically a four-person crime wave across West Michigan over the last week and a half, and I don't think they stopped their crime wave across the western part of the US as well," said Hetherington.
It's not yet known what weapons were recovered during that arrest, but Hetherington said the four will likely face charges in Canon City because items stolen in that area were recovered during the arrests.
A woman who witnessed the women being arrested told 24 Hour News 8 in a phone conversation what she saw.
"I saw an assault weapon and lots of guns and lots of police," the woman, who asked not to be identified, said.
The witness said she first noticed something happening when she saw Pueblo County authorities. She noticed that because Canon City is in Fremont County, and the Pueblo County authorities were outside of their normal jurisdictional lines. She said the Pueblo County authorities were driving slowly on a road very near the motel.
"Almost checking out each car," she said.
She said a younger woman -- presumably Rector -- was driving what the witness thought was a silver Nissan Altima when the suspect was stopped by police.
"Next thing I know, there's a a lot of yelling, at least 10 officers and cars," said the witness. She said authorities surrounded the vehicle.
"They had every single gun that was available among them drawn," she said.
The witness also saw an automatic weapon drawn in front of the vehicle and pointed "right at the driver's head."
"They were both almost not able to move," said the witness. "Cops on both sides of the vehicle were yelling at them, 'Don't move, don't move a muscle.'"
The women were ordered out of the vehicle -- the passenger first and then the driver. The witness could only see the driver, who was lying "literally face-down kissing the ground," and bound at the wrists behind her back and at the ankles.
"She was not able to move, period," the witness said.
The witness said that when the officers opened the trunk of the vehicle, "they were reared back in case it was booby-trapped."
"I actually thought it was a drug bust," the witness aid.
But after learning about the escapees, she said the women could very well have been headed back to the motel, which is only a block or so away.
She said the younger women seemed angry and upset as she was loaded into a police car and may have been yelling at officers.
All four suspects were taken to the Fremont County Justice Center in Canon City. It's not yet known exactly what charges they will face or when they'll be extradited to Michigan.
Laura Lee Grauman's mother
told 24 Hour News 8 Thursday evening she's just glad her daughter is OK.
"They found her and she's not dead," said Dawn Morse. "I was very afraid that they were going to call me and have me come and identify her body. It's been the worst two weeks of my whole life."
On Thursday night, Rector's friend, Samantha Mannon, told 24 Hour News 8 she and Rector's family are "relieved" Rector is safe.
"We were both crying we were so happy," she said.
Judith Olexa, Rector's mother, declined to comment to 24 Hour News 8 Thursday evening.
Bradshaw and Kenneth Grauman escaped from the Lake County Residential ReEntry Program on Sept. 29.
They have been on the run ever since, slipping through the grasp of authorities several times. They are thought to have stolen at least five vehicles and various firearms in at least three states during their run from the law.
Grauman was allegedly the mastermind of the escape, Allegan Police Chief Rick Hoyer told 24 Hour News 8 last week. Grauman had only 74 days left on his sentence before the breakout.
But while in the reentry facility, Hoyer said, Grauman heard his fingerprints had been matched to evidence from a methamphetamine lab and that he was going to be sent back to prison.
Family members have confirmed to 24 Hour News 8 that Grauman has had problems with meth that Rector's mother said he got Rector hooked on.
Authorities still don't know why Bradshaw, who had only 30 days left on his sentence at the time of the breakout, agreed to escape with Grauman. The two men did know each other before they entered prison and are both from Allegan County.
On Sept. 30 -- the first full day they were on the lam -- Bradshaw and Grauman traveled more than 60 miles before crashing a stolen Pontiac Transport west of Sand Lake in Kent County.
They then stole another vehicle -- a Jeep Cherokee -- and went nearly 50 miles more to a square-mile area west of Dorr in Allegan County. That kicked off a full-scale search on the night of Oct. 1. But despite half a dozen police agencies all working together on the ground and in the air, the men weren't caught.
They are thought to have met up with their girlfriends on Oct 2.
They stole a white Ford Taurus from that same Dorr area Oct. 3, avoiding police this time by only about 25 minutes.
The last confirmed sighting of the four suspects was at a Kroger store in Kokomo, Ind. one week ago. That is also where they ditched the stolen Taurus and allegedly stole a silver GMC pickup truck that had two rifles in it.
Nearly a week later, the four suspects hecked into the Colorado motel.
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