Investigators say two inmates forged release documents and walked out of the Stanley Correctional Institution. It happened in January. But, people we talked to in Stanley had no idea until now.
On Monday (2/8), it remained hard to get much information from anyone: A spokesperson for the Department of Corrections says that's because the escape is still under investigation.
We called the warden; he didn't return our call. And the Stanley police chief and mayor both didn't want to go on camera. That leaves a lot of people in Stanley looking for answers.
"That's a scary thought. I haven't heard anything about it," Kathy Pecha told us Monday.
"This is the first I've heard of it," said Tony Lange.
It's the reaction we got again and again in Stanley. People had no idea two inmates walked right out the front door of the local prison.
"This is really a black mark against the way they're reporting things," says Charlotte Rasmussen, a member of the Stanley Prison Community Relations Board.
Rasmussen says the board meets with the warden and prison staff twice a year. The point is to keep the communication open between the prison and the public.
"I'm very concerned it could actually happen; that they could forge these documents and get out. But, then I'm equally as outraged that nobody in the community knew about it and they probably weren't going to tell us about it," Rasmussen says.
The Department of Corrections and the police chief in Stanley still won't tell us anything about the inmates. We don't know who they were, why they were behind bars, how long they were supposed to stay there, or if they're back in Stanley. A DOC spokesperson would only say that the two men were caught "a short time after" they escaped. One was in Milwaukee and one was in the Madison area.
Stanley Police Chief Roy Fredrickson is heading up the investigation. He says this has never happened before and people shouldn't be worried for their safety. The mayor says the warden told him Monday there was never any danger to the public. But, everyone we talked to say they deserved to know what happened, when it happened.
"It would be nice to know what's going on," says Virginia Gisvold.
"As far as letting the people know, that's gotta change," Lange says.
Chief Fredrickson says what did change is how the prison deals with release paperwork. He wouldn't elaborate.
The DOC says the investigation should shed more light on how the inmates got the paperwork and if anyone helped them forge those documents. A spokesman says both inmates were on supervised release.