Indian River County, Florida, law enforcement officials foiled a jail inmate’s complex escape plan involving four associates, a plane and a castle in France.
The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release it was warned that an inmate at the county jail, John Manchec, 78, was working up a plan to escape custody.
Manchec, who was arrested on Dec. 18, 2014, and charged with 49 counts of possessing child pornography posted bond five days after his arrest and fled to the Dominican Republic to avoid prosecution.
After being tracked down, Manchec was re-arrested and extradited back to the United States, where he has remained in custody at the Indian River County Jail.
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While in jail, the sheriff’s office said, the suspect met Byron Harvey and Kerry Shephard. Harvey was allegedly placed on the payroll of Manchec’s company, Aero Shade.
Investigators learned Manchec paid for Harvey’s bond so he could be released and paid Shephard through another co-conspirator, Ben Bashton, who was not in jail.
Bashton and Kristen Maso De Moya, also listed as a co-conspirator, are also employees at Aero Shade, according to police.
According to the sheriff’s office, Manchec planned to put his escape plan into action with a scheduled doctor’s appointment. Once he was on his way out of the jail, Shepherd was allegedly going to notify Harvey.
The co-conspirators’ plan included intercepting the transport vehicle as it arrived at the medical facility, with Harvey and another person assaulting the corrections department deputies, freeing Manchec and fleeing to an undisclosed location.
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The team planned to use several vehicles during the escape, including a truck and van paid for by Manchec.
The inmate’s final plan, the sheriff’s office said, was to flee to France where Manchec’s company owns a castle called Chateau De Pechrigal.
Investigators said Manchec is a multi-millionaire with dual citizenship in France and the U.S. and loads of resources. Police said he has a private plane at Fort Pierce Regional Airport in St. Lucie County, the castle and a 140-foot yacht.
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Investigators allege that he not only intended to use the assets to help facilitate his escape, but also to finance it.
After a more than two-month investigation, detectives were able to stop the escape plan.
Now, Manchec and others face charges in connection to conspiring the escape plan.
Manchec was charged with attempted escape and is being held on $250,000 bond. Harvey was charged with criminal conspiracy and unlawful use of two-way communication. His bond was set at $150,000. De Moya was charged with criminal conspiracy, and Bashton and Shephard were charged with the same, though held on $50,000 bond.
Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers said others may be involved in the plot and the investigation is ongoing.