Capture of Escaped Idaho Inmate and Accomplice: A 36-Hour Manhunt and the Great Aftermath

By Mar 27, 2024

Capture of Escaped Idaho Inmate

Capture-In a dramatic turn of events, the escape of an Idaho inmate, Skylar Meade, and his alleged accomplice, Nicholas Umphenour, concluded with their capture after a 36-hour manhunt and a subsequent shootout that left three officers injured. Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar, in a press conference, announced the culmination of the intense search on Thursday, providing details of the capture in Twin Falls, Idaho, approximately two hours away from the initial escape site.


Capture-The ordeal began when Meade, under the custody of corrections officers due to his involvement in self-injurious behavior at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution, was escorted to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. The situation escalated dramatically when, during the escort, Meade and Umphenour ambushed the officers with gunfire, injuring two of them. The assailants then fled the scene in a getaway car, sparking a widespread search operation.

Capture-Josh Tewalt, director of the Idaho Department of Correction, shed light on the security protocols involved during Meade’s hospital visit, indicating that such high-risk situations typically involve a contingent of officers accompanying the inmate. Despite these precautions, the ambush caught the officers off guard, leading to injuries and the subsequent escape.

Adding a layer of complexity to the case, both Meade and Umphenour were linked to the White supremacist group Aryan Knights, as revealed by Tewalt. This affiliation hinted at potential motives and raised concerns about the extent of their criminal network. Moreover, the revelation of shared acquaintances and past associations between the two suspects underscored the depth of their collaboration.

The gravity of the situation intensified with Lt. Colonel Sheldon Kelley of the Idaho State Police mentioning ongoing investigations into two homicides possibly connected to the fugitives. The discovery of Meade’s shackles at one of the crime scenes and their possession of one victim’s car provided crucial leads, hinting at a broader criminal enterprise involving the escapees.

Skylar Meade’s criminal history, punctuated by convictions and gang affiliations, painted a portrait of a dangerous individual with deep-rooted ties to organized crime. His impending release in 2036, despite the severity of his offenses, raised questions about the efficacy of the justice system in dealing with repeat offenders like Meade.

The involvement of the Aryan Knights, a White supremacist prison gang notorious for its activities in Idaho, added a troubling dimension to the case. Winegar’s mention of Meade’s facial tattoos bearing the group’s insignia highlighted the extent of his allegiance, pointing towards the influence of such extremist ideologies within the prison system.

Amidst the chaos, law enforcement’s swift response underscored the importance of coordinated efforts in handling such crises. However, the incident also raised questions about the vulnerabilities within the correctional system and the need for enhanced security measures to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

The rarity of prison escapes, as emphasized by experts like Jeff Mellow from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, offered some reassurance amidst the turmoil. Mellow’s insights into the evolving landscape of corrections highlighted the strides made in fortifying prisons against escape attempts. However, he also cautioned against complacency, emphasizing the ever-present threat posed by determined individuals like Meade.

In conclusion, the capture of Skylar Meade and Nicholas Umphenour marked the end of a harrowing ordeal that gripped the state of Idaho. The incident served as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by law enforcement in ensuring public safety and the need for constant vigilance in combating organized crime within the prison system. As the dust settles, authorities are left to ponder the lessons learned and the steps needed to prevent such incidents from recurring in the future.

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