A sleepy New Jersey shore town is the focus of a manhunt for a convict who escaped from a psychiatric hospital’s prison unit on Tuesday morning – and who once served 14 years for manslaughter in the death of a 10-month-old infant.
Arthur Buckel, 38, escaped from the Bayside State Prison unit at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in Hammonton, where he had been serving a separate three-year sentence for aggravated assault, drug possession and burglary. He would have been eligible for parole on May 21 had he not escaped, Department of Corrections records show.
Buckel was captured on surveillance video shopping at a CVS on Wednesday in Barnegat. Buckel is believed to be driving a stolen white, 2015 Chevy Silverado, which was seen at the CVS, according to a Facebook post by the Barnegat Police Department.
At a Wednesday evening press conference, Barnegat police Sgt. Jeffrey Ryan said residents of Barnegat should remain sheltered in place with their doors locked and vehicles secured, reports the Asbury Park Press.
“He is an escaped prisoner, let’s consider him dangerous,” Ryan said.
Barnegat police tweeted that schools are open today but said there will be officers present at all schools.
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New Jersey Department of Corrections spokesman Matt Schuman told the Daily Journal that Buckel was discovered missing during a head count at about 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Buckel had previously served 14 years for slapping a 10-month-old child to death because she was crying, the Jersey Journal reports. The paper reports that he had finished his sentence for that crime in 2010.
Buckel is Caucasian 5’9″ and weighs 180 pounds. He has light blue eyes and a tattoo under his left eye. Those who see someone matching his description are encouraged to call 911.