Five inmates, including alleged rustler, escape from Texas jail; tunnel dug from basement

Friday, October 12th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SHERMAN, Texas (AP) _ A manhunt was under way Friday for five inmates who escaped from their jail cells, leaving their bunks stuffed with linens.

The five were discovered missing from the Grayson County Jail during a walkthrough inspection at about 1:45 a.m. Friday, said Sheriff's Lt. David Hawley.

The men's bunks were stuffed to conceal their absence, and they apparently escaped through air conditioning ducts, making their way to the basement. From there, they dug through the dirt floor in the basement and then tunneled to the outside.

``We've had approximately 20 to 30 leads. We've checked them all, but none of them have panned out,'' Hawley said. ``We don't know where they're headed.''

The last time the men were known to be in their cells was about 10 p.m. Thursday, Hawley said.

He identified the five fugitives as Bob Harold Leach, 38; Gerald Lynn Gantt, 45; Jerry W. Riley, 24; Jeremy John Reynolds, 21; and Brian Jeremy Riley, 27.

All five also have been accused or convicted of serious crimes, Hawley said. Leach was charged in July with running a cattle rustling scheme that netted up to $1.5 million and could face life in prison if convicted. Leach also faces unrelated kidnapping and sexual assault charges.