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Escaped Idaho inmate and accomplice captured following ‘brazen’ ambush at hospital

Boise Police Department

(BOISE, Idaho) — An inmate who escaped from an Idaho hospital with an accomplice who opened fire on the correction officers transporting him in a “brazen” attack have been captured, Boise police said.

The Idaho Department of Correction inmate, Skylar Meade, and shooting suspect Nicholas Umphenour were located in the Twin Falls area around 2 p.m. MT Thursday, according to Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar.

They were taken into custody following a short vehicle pursuit, Winegar said. They will be taken to the Twin Falls County jail and may face prosecution in several other locations, according to Lt. Colonel Sheldon Kelley from the Idaho State Police.

State police are investigating two homicides that may be tied to this incident, according to Kelley. The homicides occurred in the last 24 hours at separate locations in Nez Perce and Clearwater counties and both victims were men, he said. Their cause of death has not been released. Shackles were found at one of the homicide scenes, Kelley said.

A third person, Tonia Huber, 52, of Filer, Idaho, was also arrested in connection to the crimes committed by Meade and Umphenour. She is being charged with felony eluding and possession of a controlled substance, but there were no details provided on her specific involvement in the escape or her relationship with Meade or Umphenour.

All three are expected to be arraigned on Friday.

The manhunt began early Wednesday, following what authorities described as a planned ambush. Meade had been transported to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise Tuesday night for treatment after engaging in “self-injurious behavior,” according to Idaho Department of Correction director Josh Tewalt.

As correction officers were preparing to transport him back to the Idaho Maximum Security Institution around 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, an individual “attacked and fired” at the officers, striking two, Boise police said.

A third correction officer was shot by a Boise officer who responded to reports of an active shooter inside the hospital’s emergency department, Boise police said. The officer fired his weapon at an armed individual near the entrance who was determined to be an Idaho Department of Correction officer, police said.

Investigators ultimately determined that Meade and his accomplice fled in a gray Honda Civic, just prior to Boise officers arriving, police said.

The vehicle used in the escape had been reported stolen and was located near Leland, Idaho, authorities said. The two were located Thursday traveling in a different vehicle, Kelley said.

Umphenour is an “associate” of Meade, police said. The two, at one point, were in the same housing unit while at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution and were linked by “both having membership with the Aryan Knights,” according to Tewalt. Umphenour was released from custody in January, Tewalt said.

The Idaho Department of Correction is investigating how the escape was planned, Tewalt said. There was increased security for Meade’s hospital transport due to his history and he was in restraints while being escorted out of the hospital, Tewalt said. The transport “was in line with our policies,” he said, adding that they are now investigating whether their policies and protocols are “sufficient enough.”

Two of the correction officers shot during the escape remain hospitalized Thursday afternoon in stable and improving condition, while one has since been released, Tewalt said.

Amid the manhunt, officers on Wednesday obtained a warrant for Umphenour’s arrest on two charges of aggravated battery against law enforcement and one charge of aiding and abetting an escape, police said. The warrant has a $2 million bond.

Meade, 31, has been serving time for aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer with a firearm enhancement, according to police and Idaho Department of Correction records. His sentence was through October 2036, with parole eligibility starting in October 2026, the correction records show.

He has been incarcerated since October 2016 and has prior convictions including felony possession of a controlled substance, grand theft and introduction of contraband into a correctional facility, police said.

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