A man who had escaped a high-security detention center on Rikers Island, sparking a massive manhunt involving multiple law enforcement agencies, has been found, and officials say he never left the island.
The escapee, 24-year-old Naquan Hill, was found by two Department of Correction staff members in some sort of trailer on the island just before 3 a.m. Thursday, more than seven hours after he hopped a fence, officials say.
Law enforcement sources said Hill did not return from the outdoor recreation area Wednesday evening. They said that he jumped over a fence at the C-95 jail, also known as AMKC, which houses about 3,000 inmates. Staff noted the disappearance around 7:30 p.m. when they did an inmate headcount.
The island was put on lockdown as Port Authority Police Department officers canvassed near LaGuardia Airport as they searched for him, according to the sources. The NYPD Harbor Unit searched the waters around the island.
All traffic on Rikers Island was suspended amid the lockdown. Police vehicles, many with their lights flashing, were seen coming to and from the island.
Hill, who has a lengthy rap sheet, had an upcoming court appearance next month. He had been released from jail in March 2016 after serving four years for three burglary convictions in Queens. He was recently rearrested.
An investigation into how the inmate escaped is underway, but officials thanked law enforcement officers who brought him back into custody.
“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," New York City Department of Correction Acting Commissioner Cynthia Brann said. "Their coordinated actions helped safely return this inmate to custody.”
A source tells NBC 4 New York Rikers has not passed a physical security audit by the state in the past 10 years.
The city's jail system has been plagued for years by a culture of violence and corruption.
A lawsuit filed by lawyers for inmates who were beaten by jail guards and joined by federal prosecutors who investigated brutality against 16- to 18-year-old inmates resulted in 2015 in a consent decree mandating the city implement a series of wide-ranging reforms.