Still No Sign Of Escapees

Convicted murderer, Martin Shane Moon, 34, left, and Robert Joseph Legendre, 27, shown in this photo provided by Iowa Department of Corrections, escaped from the maximum security portion of the Iowa State Penitentiary, Monday, Nov. 14, 2005, in Fort Madison, Iowa, jail officials said. Legendre and Moon were serving life sentences for murder.
AP/Iowa Dept. of Corrections
Editor's note: The Associated Press has clarified that one of the escapees, Robert Joseph Legendre was not convicted of murder, as was previously reported. He was convicted of first-degree kidnapping, attempted murder and a charge called use of deadly weapons enhanced.

The search for two inmates who escaped from the Iowa State Penitentiary is continuing as police say one of the men could still be hiding in town.

"We're urging friends and neighbors to check on each other ... and report anything unusual," Police Chief Randy Van Wye said Tuesday.

Law enforcement in neighboring states have been notified to be on the look out for Martin Shane Moon, 34, and Robert Joseph Legendre, 27. The men are believed to have escaped about 5:30 p.m. Monday by scaling over an unguarded prison wall, prison officials said.

Legendre and Moon were serving life sentences.

"We urge these individuals if they're listening now to please come forward and avoid anyone getting hurt or injured," Van Wye said. "Both escapees should be considered dangerous at this time. We are not sure if they are armed or not."

Authorities believe the escaped prisoners stole a 1995 gold Pontiac Bonneville with Iowa plates 776-NOW that was parked outside a Fort Madison home.

Janel Nye, 29, the vehicle's owner, said she parked and left her car to drop off one of her two sons at her sister's house before reporting to work at a grocery store. Nye said she left the car running, knowing her visit would be quick.

"I know I shouldn't have done that but I always felt safe in my community," Nye told The Associated Press. "I wasn't inside more than two minutes. When I left, I had to look three times, then I started freaking out."

Police said Nye reported her car stolen at about 6:30 p.m. Nye's sister's house is about 1½ miles west of the prison.

State Sen. Gene Fraise, D-Fort Madison, said he was told by prison officials that the inmates scaled a prison wall near an unmanned guard tower.

"The only thing I know for sure is they went over the wall in the southwest corner with a rope and a grappling hook they fashioned out of metal from somewhere," Fraise said.

He said the inmates got past a taut-wire designed to activate an alarm when touched, and got over razor wire at the top of the wall.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for