Jail escapee, guard arrested in Canada

An escapee from the Allegany County Detention Center and a prison guard who allegedly helped him flee were in the custody today of Canadian police in Hamilton, Ontario.

The escapee, Edgar Eugene Kerns Jr., 30, of Martinsburg, W.Va., and guard Sandra Kay Beeman, 46, of Frostburg, were arrested at 4 a.m. yesterday after a Hamilton motel employee recognized them on the "Unsolved Mysteries" television program and called police, said Gary Simpson, an Allegany County undersheriff.


Police tracked the pair to a second hotel in Hamilton, where they had moved shortly before the television show aired.

The program, which regularly features unsolved crimes, aired at 8 o'clock Wednesday night and was seen in Hamilton on a Buffalo, N.Y., affiliate of NBC.


The owners of a "low-end" motel on the shore of Lake Ontario called Hamilton police at 9:15 p.m., said Staff Sgt. Robert Buck, a spokesman for the Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Police. He said a SWAT team of 10 officers broke into the hotel room and arrested the pair without incident. No weapons were found.

Cumberland FBI Agent Mike Shallenberger said authorities were preparing to file extradition papers to transfer the two back to Maryland. The procedure could take several weeks to a month, he said.

Kerns, who was awaiting sentencing on charges of grand larceny and writing bad checks, escaped Aug. 29 from the detention center in Cumberland with another inmate, James Vernon Barnes, 35, of Romney, W.Va.

Barnes had been sentenced to 50 years in prison in Virginia for rape, kidnapping and robbery. He was awaiting trial in Cumberland for rape, kidnapping and assault.

The pair fled the detention center with Beeman, and at first, police thought she had been abducted. Further investigation led them to believe she had helped in the escape.

A warrant charging Beeman with aiding in the escape was issued Sept. 1 after the former beautician telephoned her 21-year-old daughter in Frostburg to tell her: "I'm fine. I'm with him."

Barnes was tracked down and captured Sept. 2 in a summer house near Romney, W.Va., about 35 miles from the Detention Center in Cumberland. He told police that Beeman was with Kerns, police said.