Man at State Work Release Center charged with escape

Staff report

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Casey Marshall Helms, 38, was charged with escape yesterday after employees of the State Work Release Center reportedly found drugs on him when he returned from work and he allegedly fled into the woods.

A Gainesville Police Department officer was driving by in a marked patrol car when she was waved down by an employee of the Florida Department of Corrections Santa Fe Work Release Center at 2901 NE 39th Avenue. The employee told her that Helms had run westbound after employees found drugs on him when he returned from work at the end of the day.

Officers set up a perimeter around the wooded area Helms had run into, and a detention officer reportedly saw Helms run by in the woods; Helms had reportedly changed clothes from an orange shirt to a black hooded sweatshirt. After officers saw him and began to chase him, Helms reportedly stopped running and surrendered.

Helms also allegedly threw the cellular device from his GPS monitor into the woods, which prevents the device from working.

Helms was originally arrested in December 2021 on drug charges and was released on his own recognizance to enter a drug treatment facility, but he reportedly stopped communicating with Court Services and was arrested in Volusia County two weeks later for heroin possession. After being transported from Volusia County in June 2022, he entered a plea of nolo contendere to possession of methamphetamines and possession of drug paraphernalia in return for a sentence of one year and seven days in state prison, with credit for 157 days served. He was serving his sentence on the Volusia County charges at the Work Release Center at the time of the alleged escape.

Judge Kristine Van Vorst set bail at $150,000.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

  • The escape charge may get him some decent prison time. No more work release.

  • What kind of ankle monitors are we using, that they can just be easily taken off or the tracking portion removed? Isn’t there some thing more dependable out there?

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