Original article posted Jan. 5, 2011
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTVA-CBS 11 News) On Wednesday the manhunt for an escaped convicted felon came to an end after state troopers apprehended the prisoner this afternoon near the Parks Highway and Stanley Road in Wasilla.
The hunt for 44-year old Kent Charles Matte began around 8 a.m. this morning when his fellow inmate noticed Matte had escaped the recreation yard.
Matte caused quite a stir around the Mat-Su area since troopers considered him to be dangerous.
This is the first time ever officials say someone has escaped from the Mat-Su Pre-trial Facility.
It currently holds 104 prisoners.
Officials say Matte made his move while in the recreation yard with two other prisoners.
"He was able to create a hole through by unweaving part of the fence fabric is what appears at this point to have happened," says Deputy Commissioner Sam Edwards for the Alaska Department of Corrections. "Once he left the recreation yard he was able to go over an additional perimeter fence that had razor ribbon."
Soon after one of the other inmates told authorities what happened.
Department of Corrections officials say it appears Matte used his coat to shield him from the razor ribbon, but evidence suggests he was still cut getting away.
As soon as word got out of his escape, all schools in the Mat-Su district went into a stay-put mode.
"Your immediate reaction always is the safety of the students and the staff," says Superintendent Kenneth Burnley for the Mat-Su Borough School District.
Children were allowed to proceed with normal school activities, but the building doors were kept locked.
"Students were rushed in from the buses and once they're in the building, they're in the building," says Burnley.
Mat-Su School officials say they were in constant contact with authorities and had made preparations to notify parents as soon as Matte was caught.
The Department of Corrections says there is not constant monitoring of the recreation yard, something they might look into changing for the future.
Matte was at the facility for allegedly breaking parole for a crime he committed in Idaho. Under an Interstate Compact Matte was scheduled to complete his parole here in Alaska closer to family.
His original crime in Idaho included burglary, criminal mischief, theft of firearms and misconduct involving a controlled substance.