Duplin County manhunt ends with Georgia man caught in hospital parking lot

Published: May. 5, 2023 at 7:53 AM EDT|Updated: May. 5, 2023 at 4:09 PM EDT
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DUPLIN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - The manhunt for a Georgia man who escaped hospital custody Thursday night ended where it began.

Captain Scott Kennedy with the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office said Jerry Flakes, Jr. was caught this afternoon in the parking lot of ECU Health Duplin Hospital in Kenansville.

Flakes was arrested Wednesday morning after a four-hour standoff at the Walmart in Wallace. Police said the standoff began after they said Flakes tried to steal a truck at the store.

The man was at the hospital for a mental evaluation when deputies said he managed to escape.

Deputies had concentrated their search in the area around the hospital.

Kennedy says the owner of a house for sale spotted Flakes underneath the front porch. The man went to the command center to alert deputies.

As deputies were searching that home, they heard a woman scream nearby. They said Flakes had broken into that home and had stolen some clothes.

Ironically, deputies caught up with Flakes in the hospital parking lot as they said he was trying to get away.

The sheriff’s office said the hospital was in charge of watching Flakes when he was a patient.

The hospital system said the man was never in ECU Health Police custody, but they had assigned a hospital sitter to monitor Flakes “for his safety and the safety of others”. ECU Health said their police department was aware that the suspect was in their hospital.

Jerry Flakes, Jr.
Jerry Flakes, Jr.(Wallace police/WITN)