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Inmate who walked off work detail now in hospital

VIDALIA — A Concordia Parish Correctional Facility inmate who was recaptured 10 minutes after walking off of a work detail Wednesday afternoon is in the hospital after he attempted suicide while in a holding cell Wednesday night, authorities said.

Matthew Morgan, 54, of Rapides Parish is recovering after Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy David Hedrick said he cut his wrist.

The injury is not life threatening, Hedrick said.

On Thursday, Hedrick also provided more details on Morgan’s Wednesday escape and recapture.

Hedrick said that after Morgan, a trusty, walked off his work detail cleaning up the sheriff’s office parking lot, he somehow managed to get a box cutter before he ended up in a nearby Walmart parking lot.

“He (Morgan) confronted a lady in the parking lot when she was in her car and her car door was open,” Hedrick said. “He tried to get in the car first. Then he took her out of the car using the box cutter as an influence and took her to the other side and made her sit in passenger side.”

Meanwhile, Hedrick said, bystanders, including some women nearby, heard the disturbance and thought it was a domestic disturbance.

“They soon realized what was going on and realized it was not domestic and intervened,” Hedrick said. “They got between the inmate and the victim.”

Morgan then fled to a nearby bank in the corner of the Walmart parking lot, Hedrick said.

“We had put out an APB (all points bulletin) on him that State Trooper Mark Davis overheard,” Hedrick said, adding Davis was in the area and spotted Morgan going into the bank. “He gave chase and went into the bank after the offender and subdued him with other Vidalia officers.”

Hedrick said the incidents all transpired within a 10-minute timeframe before Morgan was back in a holding cell.

“I’m proud of the victim to have the foresight and bravery not to allow him to take her in the car,” Hedrick said. “She’s a very strong woman as are the witnesses who stepped up and put themselves in danger and stopped something terrible from happening. They had no idea who she was and they helped her. It takes a lot to intervene for a person you don’t know or even someone you do know. I am proud of the way they handled themselves.”

Hedrick said the sheriff’s office is reviewing its policies, procedures and manuals to lessen the chance of something similar happening in the future.

“The inmate was a trusty and was in good standing with the sheriff’s office,” Hedrick said. “As far as daily duties, he showed no indicators whatsoever he was a danger to anyone.”

Hedrick said he would encourage women to sign up for women’s self defense classes offered by the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office so they can handle any situations such as the one that occurred on Wednesday.

Hedrick said the women’s self defense classes would be offered each Monday in March and said to look for the schedule in The Natchez Democrat and on the sheriff’s office’s social media postings.

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