Newport News Sheriff says deputy watching over escaped inmate failed to follow protocol

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Thomas Douglas Brabham

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Newport News Sheriff Gabe Morgan said the deputy who was responsible for an escaped inmate was in the wrong.

Thomas Douglas Brabham escaped from Riverside Regional Medical Center after being taken there for medical attention on Wednesday afternoon.

Sheriff Morgan announced Friday the preliminary investigation revealed that the deputy failed to follow proper security protocols, which contributed to the escape.

The Sheriff said the protocols will not be revealed for security reasons but noted the deputy had been properly trained.

"This incident is unfortunate. There’s no reason, based on training the deputy received, that this should have occurred,” said Sheriff Morgan. “The deputy will be dealt with accordingly and I take full responsibility as Sheriff.”

Virginia Sheriffs' Association John Jones said inmates are constantly being moved around to places like courts and medical facilities.  He said, "If you don't follow protocol things can happen and we have almost 10,000 deputy sheriffs around Virginia doing this every day and every night."

"I think the main rule to follow is that nothing should be routine. You can never let your guard down. You can never not follow the rules and protocol," said Jones.

The deputy's name involved is not being released but the Sheriff's Office said the deputy has worked for the Sheriff’s Office for 11 months.

“In the interest of transparency, I felt it was important to release this information now that we’ve had time to gather information and verify the facts,” Sheriff Morgan added.

Brabham originally was arrested by Newport News Police on March 25 and was being held in the Newport News City Jail.

Brabham was arrested after over 200 stolen items were recovered by police.

According to police, Brabham and another man were responsible for multiple burglaries in Newport News.

Police are still looking for Brabham.

Sheriff Morgan would like to thank Riverside Regional Medical Center for its cooperation with the investigation.

If you have any information that can help police call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

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