May 28—HENDERSON, Ky. — Bradley Gillespie, an inmate who escaped from the Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution last week, was found dead in the Ohio River after a multi-day chase, according to officials with the Henderson Police Department in Kentucky.
Henderson Police Chief Sean McKinney held a news conference Sunday night saying Gillespie’s body was found in the river after police were alerted by a member of the public that he was boating on the Ohio River on Sunday. early.
“Today, I think we’ve wrapped up our five-day manhunt,” McKinney said during the news conference. “We received a call about a body floating in the Ohio River very close to the last known whereabouts of Mr. Gillespie.”
Multiple agencies in Henderson responded to the scene, and after the body was recovered, it was confirmed to be Gillespie, McKinney said. The time and cause of death have not yet been determined.
“There will be an autopsy performed on Tuesday,” he said.
McKinney added that the decomposition levels were consistent with someone who had been in the water for four to five days, but an autopsy would be needed to make a final determination on that.
While McKinney expressed gratitude to Henderson residents for their vigilance and relief that the search for Gillespie was over, he stressed that any celebratory sentiment should be tempered under the circumstances.
“We are happy to have some closure to this situation and this event,” he said. “However, I don’t think it’s appropriate to celebrate the death of any life at this time.”
Gillespie, 50, and fellow prisoner James Lee, 47, were able to escape from prison in Lima by hiding in a dumpster, according to the Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Once their absence was discovered Tuesday morning, police began an extensive search for Gillespie and Lee. The duo had stolen a vehicle in Auglaize County and headed for Henderson, western Kentucky, early Wednesday morning.
When officers in Henderson saw the vehicle and believed it to be the one stolen by the two escaping inmates, they tried to stop traffic. Lee, the driver, led police on a brief chase before crashing the vehicle, forcing the fugitives to attempt to flee on foot. While Lee was immediately captured, Gillespie was able to escape, sparking a manhunt that lasted for the rest of the week. Officials from Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana assisted in the search, along with the US Marshal’s Office and the US Coast Guard.
Contact Craig Kelly at 567-242-0391 or on Twitter @cmkelly419.