Upstate homeowner says escaped prisoner found under house

UNION COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – An Upstate homeowner said she is shocked to know an escaped inmate was caught hiding underneath her property.

It’s where state and local law enforcement found Brent Austin after he slipped away on friday.

“I was in shock,” said Kimberly Palmer.

That’s after learning her property was doubling as a hideout for escaped inmate Austin, whose family she’s familiar with.

“I was kind of concerned. But, you know, I wasn’t terrified because I know the family,” said said. Palmer talked with 7 News outside the house in the 200 block of Hancock Street.

“My daughter – she lives next door,” said Palmer. “She was scared. She was like can you come check around the house?”

She said they didn’t find anything but gut said otherwise.

“My instincts was telling me to get him to check under this house. I should’ve followed my instincts but I didn’t,” she recalled.

Austin had escaped from the second floor of the Union County courthouse Friday.

Deputies say his feet were shackled but they had taken off his handcuffs.

“He jumped out of a bathroom window on the second floor,” said Sheriff David Taylor when we checked in with him on Saturday.  “Fled across to Union Mill crossing apartments and stole a truck there.”

On Saturday deputies followed leads that Austin was in the Lakeside Drive area but didn’t find him. Investigators with the sheriff’s office said they knew he was still in the Monarch area of Union County.

“Law Enforcement concentrated heavily on the Monarch area on Sunday, making contact with known associates of Austin and inquiring on whether they had seen or talked with him,” said Kim Bailey, Administrative Assistant to the Sheriff in a statement.

The sheriff’s office says Sunday investigators got information that Austin was hiding underneath the the house on Hancock Street. They said he was found with a make-shift bed and blankets, and was tired and hungry.

“You never know when a person, you know, on the run – what’s going through their mind so I was really concerned for my daughter and my grandkids,” said Palmer.

The sheriff says it took several agencies to find Austin.

“Excellent job. They never slacked up. They did their job,” said Palmer.

The Department of Corrections says Austin was serving a 14-month sentence for a drug conviction.