3 inmates escape from SC jail

Left to Right: Donald Ray Little Jr., Michael Bryan Chaplin, Matthew Daniel Chaplin

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) — The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Department is searching for three inmates who escaped custody early Friday morning from the Dorchester County Jail in St. George.

Berkeley County deputies were seen doing an extensive search off of Interstate 26 near mile marker 204 Saturday afternoon.

Just after 3 a.m., the men broke a window pushing the whole window and frame out of the hole. Then they threw a blanket over the barbed wire, jumped the fence and left.

The three inmates who escaped are:

  • Donald Ray Little Jr., 34, from Summerville, was jailed for probation violation.
  • Michael Bryan Chaplin, 31, from Summerville, was jailed for two counts of grand larceny and four counts of burglary.
  • Matthew Daniel Chaplin, 28, from Summerville, was jailed for three counts of larceny, three counts of possession of meth, one card theft charge and possession of a stolen vehicle.

Eleven other inmates in their cell witnessed the escape, but did not leave.

Elaine Davis and her son Shaquille were enjoying the weather outside at their home just down the street from the jail when I stopped by to tell them about the escape.

Shaquille said, “It’s a big problem because this is my home. I like to feel comfortable, but the jail house is right there in the middle of our block so they need to do a better job with security.”

His mother Elaine agrees. “They need to stop letting people break out of jail. There’s a lot of kids that live around here and old folks. I’m too old to be fighting you know what I’m saying.”

I took their concerns to Dorchester Sheriff LC Knight. “We’ve got a jail that is 50-60 years old. We’ve been pushing to get a new jail built. We have 250 in there today and it was built for 156. I agree with her. I don’t like the idea that they got out, but they got out.”

Knight said their new jail is scheduled to open in mid August, and inmates will not be able to escape the way they did from the new jail.

The three men are believed to have stolen a vehicle about a mile away from the jail and left St George. They may be in the Summerville area, which is where they live. Officials confirm late Friday evening that the vehicle believed to be stolen by the three was found near College Park Road at South University and Tennessee Drives.

Anyone with any information should call their local law enforcement agency and report any information.

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