Second Okanogan jail escapee recaptured near Malaga


OKANOGAN — The last of two inmates who fled the Okanogan County Jail last week was rearrested Wednesday afternoon near a Columbia River boat launch in southern Chelan County.

Kristofer L. Wittman, 28, of Bellingham was captured near Yoyo Rock, a Fish and Wildlife public access point about 10 miles south of Malaga. Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley said Wittman was taken into custody without incident.

Wittman, who’d been held in the Okanogan County Jail on charges of
possession of a stolen vehicle, malicious mischief and escape attempt, climbed out of his jail module’s shower area through an HVAC vent Jan. 5. He was accompanied by Christian Edward White, 53, of Rock Island.

Deputies said the two apparently had time to plan their escape, as both left notes for corrections officers to find, and White allegedly colluded by phone with a Cashmere woman, Teresa Lancaster, 64, to pick him up once he made his break.

White was the first to be recaptured, tracked down by the U.S. Marshals Service Tuesday evening in Portland, Oregon. Lancaster was arrested in his company, Hawley said, and faces charges of rendering criminal assistance and conspiracy.

Chelan County Sheriff’s Chief of Operations Jason Reinfeld said his office worked with the Yakima-based U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, the Columbia River Drug Task Force and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to surveil and capture Wittman. He had taken up residence in an abandoned trailer near Yoyo Rock off Tarpiscan Road.

Police approached by boat and over land, Reinfeld said, along with a police canine. When Wittman walked away from the trailer about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, officers were able to intercept him. He was taken to the Chelan County Regional Justice Center for overnight detention before being returned to Okanogan County.