A Waukesha County official said the private extradition company hired to transport accused murderer Justin Patrick Welch to Wisconsin, stopped at the public restroom in Arkansas, in clear violation of company policy, in response to complaints by Welch that he was in desperate need of a bathroom.
“Absolutely it was a setup. Absolutely,” said Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel.
“I believe his request to use the bathroom was linked to him perceiving he had some opportunity to escape,” he added.
A lone guard accompanied the five inmates into the restroom and was then stabbed, beaten and disarmed by Welch, who then used the guards key to rid himself of the leg restraints.
Welch fled the washroom, woke the second guard who was asleep in the van and shot at him before taking off with the vehicle.
Schimel was asked if that scenario suggested that Welch smuggled the weapon on to the van.
“We just don’t know. I have not seen any information to see where that (the weapon) came from,” he said.
Welch was captured just 30 miles west of where the escape occurred. He accepted a ride from a truck driver, and when Welch asked to stop at a store, the driver noticed a gun in a bag Welch had left inside the cab.
Authorities were notified and pulled the van over. Reports are that Welch reached for the bag, presumably to grab the weapon, but the driver foiled the attempt by grabbing the bag and tossing it out the window.
Welch was taken into custody without incident.
“I can’t believe he is back in custody without anyone being injured,” a relieved Schimel said.