An inmate who escaped from a Rikers Island jail on Wednesday night by hopping a fence was been found. The island was under lockdown for hours until Correction officers found the inmate hiding in a trailer on the island.
The inmate, identified as 24-year-old Naquan Hill, had been in a yard at the Anna M. Kross Center with five other inmates when, DNAinfo reports, "Officials noticed he was gone at around 7:30 p.m. after they found the headcount was off by one. He was found early Thursday morning by two Department of Corrections staffers after a search that included help from the NYPD and Port Authority Police, according to an official."
The Correction Department is investigating the incident. WABC 7 reports that a "preliminary investigation indicates that some of the inmates may have intentionally distracted two guards while Hill climbed the fence."
A source told the NY Times that four Correction staff—three officers and a captain—were supervising the recreation yard: "Went out with a total of six inmates, and went back with five, and no one noticed anything wrong. Nobody saw it. This is simply staff negligence."
The NYPD's Harbor and Aviation units monitored for any sign of Hill, and the Port Authority police "canvassed near LaGuardia Airport as they searched for him" as well, according to NBC New York, which reports that Rikers has not passed a physical security audit by the state in the past decade, according to an unnamed source.
The lockdown stranded hundreds of visitors "for hours on at least five Q100 buses without any communication about what was happening"—or access to food, water or bathrooms—according to DNAinfo. One woman, Rojelia Carter, said, "We were there since 7:15 on the bus, people passed out, we couldn't get water, we couldn't get off the bus. There were people on the floor, there were people fighting each other on the bus, the kids couldn't breathe inside the bus."
"I would like to thank the men and women of DOC, the NYPD, the Port Authority Police and New York State Police for their time and effort in locating this individual," NYC Department of Correction acting commissioner Cynthia Brann said in a statement. "Their coordinated actions helped safely return this inmate to custody."
Hill, who is charged with burglary, has been held without bail on Rikers since last December.
Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to eventually close the jails at Rikers Island, which has been at the center of corruption and inmate abuse scandals, and open new, small replacement jails across the city.