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Inmate escapes Chicago-area jail by wearing COVID mask, switching identities with fellow inmate

An escaped Chicago inmate is on the loose after reportedly escaping — with a face mask — under the guise of another inmate’s identity.

What are the details?

According to WBBM-TV, 28-year-old Quintin Henderson was scheduled to be released from custody on Saturday.

However, Henderson reportedly lent his identity to fellow prisoner, 21-year-old Jahquez Scott, for a sum of $1,000, so that Scott could escape in an early release.

Scott, who identified himself as Henderson and wore a face mask as well as Henderson’s sweatshirt, was able to leave jail on an individual bond. According to an Associated Press report, Scott stepped forward when corrections officers called Henderson’s name for discharge on Saturday. The 21-year-old inmate signed release papers pretending to be Henderson, and exited the jail.

Scott was initially in jail on a $50,000 D-bond for “unlawful use of a weapon,” WBBM reported, and was set to be placed on electronic monitoring if he made bond.

Cook County Jail staff discovered that Scott had escaped with Henderson’s identity only when it was time for Henderson to provide detailed personal information for his discharge and paperwork was missing.

The station reported that an internal investigation into the incident is underway.

What else?

Needless to say, Henderson is not leaving jail, and his bond was increased to a $25,000 D-bond with additional charges of aiding Scott’s escape.

Police are seeking Scott’s whereabouts, and ask anyone with information on the escaped inmate to call 773-674-8477.

“The nature of the offenses isn’t merely the aiding and abetting, it’s who you aided and abetted. And that’s weighing heavily against you,” Judge Mary Marubio told Henderson at his bail hearing, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Henderson is due back in court May 20.

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Disease expert charged with murder asked to be let out of prison so he can help with COVID-19 research. His request was swiftly denied.

A world-renowned microbiologist imprisoned on murder charges asked to be freed from jail so that his research skills could be used in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, but his request was quickly denied.

Wyndham Lathem — the former Northwestern University microbiology professor who was the subject of a weeklong manhunt after his boyfriend was found brutally stabbed to death in his apartment in 2017 — asked a judge to free him on $1 million bail last week, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Lathem, who earned fame due to his research on the bubonic plague, has been held without bail in Chicago’s Cook County Jail since his arrest over two years ago.

Then last week, Lathem submitted a request to be freed citing health concerns amid the jail’s battle against the spread of the virus and, of course, his background in studying infectious diseases.

According to the New Scientist, Lathem’s attorney included some 30 letters of praise from colleagues and friends in the request, including one from Dr. William Goldman, Lathem’s postdoctoral adviser at Washington University in St. Louis who is now the chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of North Carolina.

“With his background and experience, Dr. Lathem is well-suited to advise and participate in studies that are aimed at understanding SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote Dr. Goldman. “It would make sense to take advantage of as many experts as possible during this worldwide crisis that is rapidly expanding in scope.”

However, Lathem’s request was denied by Judge Charles Burns in an emergency hearing Friday, according to court records obtained by the Sun-Times.

The outlet also noted that in the years before his arrest, Lathem was granted “select agent” status by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a status which gave him lab access to some of the world’s deadliest pathogens for research.

Lathem and British national Andrew Warren, who worked as an administrator at Oxford University, were charged in 2017 with the murder of Lathem’s 26-year-old boyfriend Trenton Cornell-Duranleau. Prosecutors alleged that the two men plotted the murder in the months prior in an internet chat room where they discussed their “sexual fantasies of killing others and then themselves.”

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