Man wanted in Dunklin County turns himself in

Sunday, April 13, 2008

DUNKLIN COUNTY, Mo. — A wanted man turned himself into authorities Friday afternoon after briefly escaping custody in the early morning hours Friday.

Lavon Whitaker Jr., 25, through a prearranged agreement, turned himself in Friday at the parking lot of a local motel, according to Dunklin County Sheriff Bob Holder.

Whitaker, an inmate of the Dunklin County Justice Center, was being held on a $75,000 cash only bond before his escape, according to court records.

Dunklin County assistant prosecuting attorney Jonce Chidister said Friday morning that Whitaker was originally charged March 27 with first-degree assault, felony armed criminal action and first-degree endangering the welfare of a child as a result of an incident in which Whitaker allegedly assaulted his girlfriend with a broken table leg and shook one of his children in an aggressive manner.

According to the sheriff's department, Whitaker was taken Thursday to Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center for treatment, after which he assaulted a corrections officer and fled the scene on foot at about 12:40 a.m. Friday, handcuffed and wearing a black-and-white jail-issued uniform.

Investigators immediately began to search for Whitaker.

Friday afternoon, Holder said the Kennett Police Department and U.S. Marshal's Service assisted in the investigation which led to Whitaker turning himself in.

Whitaker awaits further charges from the Dunklin County prosecutor's office as a result of his decision to flee custody.

Whitaker is in custody at the Dunklin County Justice Center in Kennett and will have a preliminary hearing on his original charges April 15 before judge John C. Spielman.

Public Defender Rebecca D. Burke is listed as his attorney.

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