Three South Central Regional Jail correctional officers charged with permitting escape

Allison Bryant, Pamela McNeely, and Jordan Toler

Three South Central Regional Jail correctional officers are being charged after they were accused of being negligent in their jobs, contributing to the escape of inmate Todd Boyes.

Jordan Levi Toler, 22, of Lincoln, Pamela Ann McNeely, 47, of Lenore and Allison Taylor Bryant, 22, of Walkersville are charged with permitting escape, a misdemeanor, according to criminal complaints filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.

They are among five guards suspended without pay as the internal investigation of the escape of Boyes, who was gone for 36 hours before he was discovered missing. An employee for PrimeCare, the medical services provider for the regional jail system, also previously informed state officials that it fired an employee assigned to the jail after an internal review of the escape.

Boyes, 43, of Caldwell, Ohio escaped the South Central Regional Jail in South Charleston about 5 a.m. Oct. 25. West Virginia State Police said they were notified at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 27 that he was missing. The West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety said jail staff did not discover he was missing until 7 p.m. Oct. 28.

Boyes was captured in Texas Oct. 29 as he tried to swim to Mexico. His mother has been charged after she was accused of helping him escape. Boyes is being held in Texas, and West Virginia authorities are expected to travel there and bring him back to the state to face new charges and be to be sentenced on charges related to a police chase that ended with him being shot.

Court records said Toler was informed that Boyes was scheduled to have a physical during the afternoon of Oct. 25. The nurse’s station sent Toler to get Boyes from his cell for the physical and shortly after Toler returned to the nurse’s station with a refusal to consent to treatment. It was not signed by Boyes, but was instead signed by officer Toler, stating that Boyes refused to sign the form. This allowed further concealment of Boyes’ escape from the facility, court records said.

"He was gone before I even got there. I didn't work the day before or the day after," Toler said after his arraignment and release on a personal recognizance bond.

"I signed the paper because I couldn't get him to answer whenever I yelled for his name in the section. He didn't come so that's what I thought I needed to do. I was never told otherwise that's how you don't do or that's how you do it. That's how everybody else does it so that's how I did it," he said.

McNeely gave a statement that she thought Boyes was a counselor coming out of the jail, court records said, and let him out of the jail without any identification. McNeeley did not wish to make a comment following her hearing and release.

Court records said Bryant was working the C-Pod guard tower. Boyes was located in the C-Pod prior to his escape. Surveillance video showed the section door to be open, allowing Boyes to walk out of the section door into the main jail.

In a statement, Bryant informed investigators that it was her duty that night as the C-Pod tower guard to monitor the section door at all times and to make sure it was shut, court records said. Court records said an investigator watched surveillance video and observed that the section door was open for an extended period of time before Boyes walked out the door. Bryant failed to make sure the section door was locked and also failed to notify other jail employees that Boyes walked out into the main jail hallway, court records said.

"A lot of people are out of work because of an administration problem. Not our problem," Bryant said after being released on a personal recognizance bond. "We're expected to look over 600 inmates with less than four hours of sleep, working a 16 hour shift before."

Bryant believes an officer shortage, lack of training, long hours and little pay, all came together for the perfect storm.

"We're supposed to have 100 plus officers working but only 24 were," she said. "I'm going to be homeless next month because I don't have a job now."

It's not clear if the other two suspended officers will be charged with a crime.

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