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Missing teen girl, escaped Morgan County inmate found after 8 days

An escaped Morgan County inmate, Kaleb Gillespie, was found in Bessemer Monday morning with Peyton Ledlow, a teen reported missing from Lawrence County.

Posted: Nov 4, 2019 7:04 AM
Updated: Nov 5, 2019 7:12 AM

WAAY 31 was at the Morgan County Jail when the Morgan County Sheriff's Office brought him from the Hoover Jail, close to Birmingham, back to Morgan County.

It was just 8 days ago when Kaleb Gillespie jumped over a wall in a courtyard, climbing over razor wire and taking off. Gillespie was found with a missing 16-year-old Peyton Ledlow, and now people in her community are glad she is now safe.

"I’m glad that she was found safe and I’m glad they got him but I have a question on how she hooked up with him to start with," says Carolyn Maples, who lives in Moulton.

Maples is asking the question everyone wants answered. Maples lives in Moulton and said she's happy Peyton has been found.

"It’s just a terrible situation all the way around young kids just don’t think about the dangers they can get into right now," she adds.

Hoover Police noticed Gillespie and Peyton in a Hampton Inn parking lot early Monday morning. They say Gillespie took off onto I-459, eventually crashing at Exit One. Both he and the teen ran off, but police say they caught Peyton quickly.

They used a drone to help find Gillespie. The video shows Hoover police taking him down after they spotted him getting into an unlocked car, behind an industrial building in Bessemer.

Now, Gillespie will face additional charges of eluding and resisting arrest, along with escape from Morgan County.

"Now that we have them in custody we will piece together what they have to say. What evidence we can find from the arrest this morning to determine what exactly took place who was involved, who may have assisted and go from there," says Mike Swafford, spokesperson for the Morgan County Sheriff's Office.

Now that Gillespie is back, police are working together to find out how the two were connected and have plans to arrest additional people who may assisted in his escape.

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Update: Hoover police say at 5 a.m. Monday morning, an officer on patrol saw a suspicious vehicle occupied by a male and a female in the parking lot of the Hampton Inn on John Hawkins Parkway.

The department says while the officer was speaking to the driver, he sped off. Police say they then learned the driver was Kaleb Gillespie and the female was Peyton Ledlow.

Officers found the vehicle on John Hawkins Parkway and tried to stop it. They say the driver refused to stop and a chase began onto Interstate 459 South.

According to Hoover police, as Gillespie was trying to get off Interstate 459 at Exit 1, he lost control of the vehicle. They say the pair ran away and Ledlow was captured shortly after.

Police set up a perimeter and officers used a drone to help in finding Gillespie. He was found walking behind an industrial building and then getting into an unlocked car, the department says.

Both Gillespie and Ledlow were taken to the Hoover City Jail. Gillespie is charged with attempting to elude and resisting arrest. Bond is set at $500 each for the charges. Ledlow is charged with resisting arrest.

Police say Gillespie will be turned over to Morgan County authorities upon his release from the Hoover City Jail. The Morgan County Sheriff's Office tells WAAY 31 he will return to Morgan County on Monday.

Ledlow was taken to Jefferson County Family Court. The Morgan County Sheriff's Office says she will be released to either Lawrence County authorities or her parents.

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Original story:

An escaped Morgan County inmate, Kaleb Gillespie, was found in Bessemer around 6:23 a.m. Monday with Peyton Ledlow, a teen reported missing from Lawrence County.

The Morgan County Sheriff's Office says Gillespie is on his way back to Morgan County.

According to 33/40, Birmigham's ABC-affiliated station, Birmingham police say Gillespie and Ledlow were trying to get out of the Hoover area. The station reports the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office canvassed the area of Eastern Valley Road in Bessemer, off of Interstate 459.

33/40 says Hoover police ran a tag number on a vehicle they pulled over, and the driver ran from police. According to the station, Hoover police called Bessemer police for backup. 

The vehicle wrecked near the Interstate 459 exit close to Eastern Valley Road, 33/40 says. The station reports Ledlow stayed near the wrecked vehicle while Gillespie ran into the woods.

Both Gillespie and Ledlow were taken into police custody, according to 33/40.

Ledlow's uncle tells WAAY 31 the family received the call she was found safe Monday morning. He says they were overwhelmed by the support from the community, and the family was not aware of a relationship between Gillespie and Ledlow.

Read more about Gillespie's escape here and here.

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