Escaped Prison Gang Member Murdered Two Elderly Men Prior To Capture

Escaped Prison Gang Member Murdered Two Elderly Men Prior To Capture

Home / News / Escaped Prison Gang Member Murdered Two Elderly Men Prior To Capture

By Kelly Coffey-Behrens on March 22, 2024 at 6:35 PM EDT

An Idaho inmate escaped custody Wednesday, prompting a massive manhunt. That manhunt has come to an end, but not before two victims were found murdered.

As The Blast previously reported, 31-year-old Skylar Meade, who is a known white supremacist prison gang member, was transported to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho for self-inflicted injuries on Wednesday. Meade was set to be transported back to the corrections facility, however, with the help of another individual, he escaped custody.

His accomplice was later identified as Nicholas Umphenour, who is a member of the Aryan Knights gang alongside Meade.

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Skylar Meade Escapes Police Custody

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Boise Police Department

In 2017, Meade was sentenced to 20 years in prison for shooting at a sheriff’s sergeant during a high-speed chase. Earlier this year, Umphenour was released from the same prison.

It has been confirmed that the two had been connected as they've been housed together and had mutual friends both in and out of prison.

Umphenour is reported to have surprise attacked multiple corrections officers after he opened fire as they were preparing to return Meade to the prison. Two officers were shot — one with non-life-threatening injuries and the other who was stable in critical condition.

On Thursday, Correction Director Josh Tewalt confirmed one guard had been released from the hospital, and the other two are stable and improving.

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Police Capture Skylar Meade and Nicholas Umphenour

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Both Meade and Umphenour were arrested on Thursday afternoon, per AP News, approximately 45 miles from the Nevada border.

The suspects were taken into custody after a short chase. A 52-year-old female, identified as Tonia Huber, was also arrested on charges related to Meade's escape. Her bail has been set at $500,000 after a prosecutor said she had driven 100 mph through neighborhoods as she tried to run from police.

Prior to their arrest, they murdered two other individuals. Both causes and manners of death for the two homicides remain under investigation.

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Escaped Inmate Kills Dog Walker


Police have confirmed that Meade and Umphenour are responsible for the deaths of two men, James L. Mauney, 83, and 72-year-old Gerald "Don" Henderson. The murders happened about seven hours away from where they were arrested.

Mauney was believed to be walking his two dogs when police said he and his pups got into a silver 2019 Chrysler Pacifica and drove eastbound. It is unclear who was driving the vehicle, but they ended up in a desolate area near Leland near the Washington border.

Law enforcement located the abandoned vehicle and said they later found Mauney's body nearby.

It does not appear that Mauney knew the suspects. The dogs were found safe and returned to Mauney's family.

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Skylar Meade and Nicholas Umphenour Kill A Second Victim

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Mauney was not the only victim Meade and Umphenour killed as police later found a body belonging to Henderson outside of his home in a secluded area, approximately 60 miles from the Washington border.

Mauney's dogs and a pair of shackles, that they believe belong to Meade, were found at Henderson's house.

Police believe Henderson knew the suspects, but it is not clear how or for how long.

At the time of the incident, IDOC Director Josh Tewalt stated, “I would call it unprecedented and unthinkable. We’re certainly as part of routine policy and practice, we’ll do everything we can to try to learn for this event. For today, our hearts are with our staff, and everyone involved, and our attention is on apprehending those responsible.”

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Police Say The Escape Was A 'Coordinated Attack'

Escaped Prison Gang Member Murdered Two Elderly Men Prior To Capture

“This brazen, violent, and apparently coordinated attack on Idaho Department of Corrections personnel, to facilitate an escape of a dangerous inmate, was carried out right in front of the Emergency Department, where people come for medical help, often in the direst circumstances,” Chief Ron Winegar stated in a social media post earlier this week.

Adding, “When BPD officers responded, they believed the shooter was inside the Emergency Department. They immediately entered to address any potential continued threat to Emergency Room staff. I am grateful this harrowing incident did not result in loss of life, and we are monitoring the wounded IDOC officers with great hope for a full and speedy recovery of all involved.”

Meade was arrested in 2016 for aggravated battery on a Twin Falls officer. He was set to be released in 2036.

He and Umphenour are being held on $2 million bond.

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