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Woman allegedly drove inmates to house

Friday, February 17, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEFANO ESPOSITO AND FRANK MAIN

A woman who allegedly brought three of the six Cook County jail escapees to a Cicero home, where they held a mother and her five children hostage, was ordered held on $200,000 bond Thursday.
Michelle Reyes, 27, is the third civilian to be charged with helping inmates after their brazen jail escape last weekend. Reyes is charged with three counts of aiding an escapee.
Reyes, who is pregnant, is the girlfriend of the brother of escapee Francisco Romero.
Reyes and her boyfriend, Jose Romero, allegedly met three of the six escapees -- Francisco Romero, Tyrone Everhart and Eric Bernard -- in a Chicago-area Walgreens parking lot, Cook County assistant state's attorney Jim Knibbs said during the bond hearing.
Reyes then drove the escapees to various locations before taking them to the Cicero home of an acquaintance, investigators said.
Reyes and Jose Romero -- as well as the three escapees -- then entered the home and repeatedly told a mother and her five children inside that they could not leave and that the escapees were going to stay, Knibbs said. During a standoff with police, the escapees were watching the situation unfold on the TV news, Knibbs said. The standoff ended peacefully, and all of the inmates were recaptured.
In arguing for a low bond, Reyes' attorney, Ignatius Villasenor, told Judge Raymond Myles that Reyes took no part in the planning of the escape and provided no weapons to the fugitives.
Darin Gater, a jail correctional officer, was charged this week with assisting the inmates in their escape. Gater has allegedly given a statement to investigators in which he said an escape would make Sheriff Michael Sheahan look bad and could aid sheriff's candidate Richard Remus in his campaign.
Gater, who resigned before his bond hearing Wednesday, worked for Remus when the sheriff's candidate was head of the jail's Special Operations Response Team.
Five other correctional officers have been suspended and remain under investigation in the jail escape probe.



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