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Girlfriend helps inmate escapeTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Jennifer C. Harmon

A Lincoln County inmate escaped Thursday when he was working at the North Platte Animal Shelter.

Jail inmates go to the animal shelter every day to clean it. In the past two years, inmates have donated more than 4,000 hours of labor to the shelter.

But on Thursday, inmate Dylan Aufdengarten, 27, who had just 30 days left on a two-month sentence for domestic assault, was sent to the shelter to help clean.

Shortly after noon, someone called the shelter and made a bogus report about a loose vicious dog. Several of the employees responded, leaving a short staff at the shelter and Aufdengarten slipped out and into a waiting vehicle, according to a sheriff's statement.

Within minutes, employees at the shelter realized Aufdengarten had escaped, and reported it to law officers. A manhunt began.

Officers from the sheriff, North Platte police and Nebraska State Patrol went searching for Aufdengarten.

Meanwhile, Aufdengarten's girlfriend Jennifer C. Harmon, 29, of North Platte was contacted and escorted to the sheriff’s office, the sheriff's statement said. She admitted helping Aufdengarten escape and gave officers his last known location -- 3-5 miles east of North Platte on State Farm Road.

Harmon said the two of them got into an argument and she kicked him out of the car. Coincidently, Aufdengarten was doing time for assaulting Harmon.

Deputies soon found Aufdengarten around the 9000 block of East State Farm Road and took him into custody. Aufdengarten told a deputy that Harmon had helped in the escape, according to the statement.

Aufdengarten was charged with escape from custody and retuned to the Lincoln County Detention Center. Harmon was also jailed. She is charged with aiding and abetting escape.

Harmon and Aufdengarten face up to five years each in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.

Inmate workers are generally serving time at the county jail, are not sex offenders or overly violent. This is the first time that there has been a incident with the program, the statement said.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 6/14/2013
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