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Westmoreland

Deputies say 4-year-old led them to fugitive hiding in Greensburg apartment

Paul Peirce
| Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, 2:42 p.m.

When Westmoreland County sheriff’s deputies went to a Greensburg apartment in search of a New Alexandria fugitive Oct. 2, the suspect’s girlfriend repeatedly claimed she hadn’t seen him in five days.

Her 4-year-old son provided a different story.

Sgt. Irvin Shipley, with the sheriff’s department, reported in court documents that after officers entered the apartment of Lauren Byrd in the Autumn Brook Apartment Complex along Allegheny Avenue, the child led police to the fugitive, Jesse Vaughn Lawson, 24, who was hiding inside a locked utility room.

“He’s hiding from you in the electrical room. Come on, I’ll show you,” Shipley quoted the child after the boy inquired why deputies were scouring the apartment about 8 a.m.

According to a criminal complaint filed Friday before District Judge Chris Flanigan, Shipley wrote that the child led police up a staircase and pointed toward a second-floor utility room door.

Deputies instructed the child to return to the first floor and then they attempted to enter the utility room, which was locked. Shipley yelled that officers were going to “breach the door.” Lawson then surrendered and opened the door, court papers said.

Lawson was wanted on an arrest warrant for burglary and receiving stolen property. Police said sheriff’s Deputy John Dixon discovered a cup and container containing suspected marijuana sitting on the living room floor where three young children inside the apartment had access.

Lawson said the contraband, including 10 bags of marijuana, belonged to him, Shipley reported.

“All the drugs are mine. I left them there when you came,” Shipley quoted Lawson as telling deputies.

Lawson, who was jailed on the arrest warrant, was arraigned Friday on new charges of flight to avoid apprehension, endangering the welfare of children, possession and manufacturing of a controlled substance. He was remanded to the Westmoreland County Prison by Flanigan after he failed to post $25,000 bail.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib.

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