GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - On Dec. 26, Gregg County Sheriff’s Office Investigator David Falco was informed by Gregg County Lt. Eddie Hope that a White Oak Police detective had received a phone call saying inmate Jace Laws had come by his house asking for help.
The Gregg County Jail was notified and went on lockdown with one inmate missing: Jace Laws. Laws had gone to the house of a fellow inmate’s father. That inmate, Charles Owens, told Falco that Laws and Owens met in jail, but their fathers had known each other previously.
It was soon discovered Laws had managed to remove bricks from his jail cell wall and discovered a “pipe chase,” an open space between walls to hide plumbing. Laws was able to climb up the space and through vents to find his way to the roof.
Laws used extension cords, heavy twine and co-ax cable he found to get himself to the ground in front the back doors of the courthouse. Laws was later seen on surveillance video hanging from the sheriff’s entry awning and dropping to the ground on Dec. 23 at 10:51 p.m., three days before Laws was discovered missing.
Falco then listened to recorded phone calls between inmate Charles Owens and Owens’ father, Ralph. In a call made on Dec. 25, Owens’ father, said Laws came by his home saying he had escaped from jail.
Ralph Owens had spoken with Falco once before, but did not mention that Laws had come by his house.
Joel Laws, Jace’s brother, had contacted the Gladewater Police chief, saying he may have information on his brother’s location. He said he dropped Jace off at Lake O’ the Pines near a place where Jace had bought drugs previously.
Joel said his brother told him he was out on bond. Joel said he told Jace to leave, but Jace persisted.
The Chief and another Gregg County investigator took Joel Laws to Lake O’ the Pines. During the trip, Joel Laws told them Jace said he was not going back to prison and that Jace wouldn’t hesitate to kill a member of law enforcement if he had to.
Investigators didn’t find Jace Laws at Lake O’ the Pines.
But there were two sightings of Jace Laws in the Gladewater area. Laws’ father lived in the area just inside the Smith County line. Jace Laws was discovered on the property in an abandoned vehicle and taken back into custody after a brief struggle.