Guard foils inmate escape at hospital

Friday, July 6, 2007
Leonard Rosenboom

A Cape Girardeau Sheriff's Department sergeant foiled an escape attempt by a convicted rapist after the prisoner's guard allegedly fell asleep early Friday morning at Saint Francis Medical Center.

Leonard L. Rosenboom, 23, formerly of De Soto, Mo., held a Bic pen to the neck of Richard Lindeman, the corrections officer guarding him, and said, "I have three life sentences, and I'm getting out of here," according to a sworn statement made by John Volkerding, investigator for the Cape Girardeau County prosecuting attorney's office.

Lindeman reported that Rosenboom tried to escape by fighting him and attempting to remove his handcuffs, according to the statement. Investigators are trying to determine how Rosenboom removed the handcuffs, according to Brian Hauswirth, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections.

The Missouri Department of Corrections brought Rosenboom to Saint Francis Medical Center after he fell out of his bunk at the Southeast Correctional Facility in Charleston, Mo. He allegedly suffered a collapsed lung.

At about 5:15 a.m. Friday, Lindeman began calling for help, according to the sworn statement.

Sgt. Dennis Hinkle was in an adjacent room, guarding prisoner Juan Vargas, who has been hospitalized since a fatal April traffic accident. Hinkle responded to the calls for help and saw Lindeman and Rosenboom facing each other, according to the sworn statement.

Hinkle reported that Rosenboom was no longer in handcuffs. Instead, Lindeman's right wrist was handcuffed.

Two hospital security guards arrived immediately, and they along with Hinkle confronted Rosenboom, according to the sworn statement. Rosenboom told the officers he wasn't going anywhere and lay back down on the hospital bed, where he was subsequently restrained with handcuffs.

The statement said that after the incident Lindeman admitted to Hinkle he had fallen asleep and awoke to find Rosenbloom in the process of handcuffing him.

Hauswirth said the Investigator General's Office is investigating the incident in cooperation with the Cape Girardeau Sheriff's Department.

Hauswirth said Rosenboom is being held in an undisclosed location with increased security.

"We take these allegations very seriously," Hauswirth said. "We are investigating whether the prisoner was able to remove his handcuffs or not, as well as other aspects of the case."

Pending the formal investigation, Hauswirth declined to comment on whether Lindeman had fallen asleep at the time of the attempted escape or on how many guards were assigned to Rosenboom.

Rosenboom was charged Friday with one felony count of attempted escape from confinement. He. was convicted in 2004 of rape, first-degree assault and kidnapping of a mother of two. He is serving three consecutive life sentences for his convictions, according to court records.

pwylie@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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