Federal officials took over a search for an escaped inmate convicted of a 2010 armed robbery in Morro Bay, after Illinois state police suspended their manhunt Thursday night.
Joshua Lee Drinnon, 35, was serving 17 years at a state prison in San Diego for the Morro Bay robbery when he escaped from a transport unit while returning from a court hearing in Tennessee about an unrelated case.
Drinnon remained at large Friday afternoon.
According to the California Department of Corrections, Drinnon, who was convicted in San Luis Obispo Superior Court in 2012, was serving his sentence at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego and had gone to a court hearing in Tennessee for a separate robbery in that state.
On Wednesday night, while the transport made a pit stop at a rest area on Interstate 80 about five miles outside of Princeton, Ill., Drinnon escaped his restraints, hopped a fence, and was last seen running into a cornfield, according to California Department of Corrections press secretary Terry Thornton.
About 100 personnel from the Bureau County Sheriff’s Office in Princeton and the Illinois State Police as well as search dogs and air support searched the area but were unable to locate Drinnon.
On Thursday night, the Illinois State Police announced it had suspended its search. Local and state authorities stepped aside after exhausting their search of the area, said Illinois State Police Sgt. Matt Boerwinkle. He said the U.S. Marshal Service had taken over the investigation.
Requests for information on the search to the U.S. Marshal Service were not returned Friday.
State police issued a statement late Thursday instructing Illinois residents to report any sightings of Drinnon and that each tip would be investigated on a case-by-case basis.
Thornton said it was not clear whether Drinnon still has ties to San Luis Obispo County and it is unlikely he would return, but asked residents to be aware.
Drinnon is described as a white male standing 6 foot 1, weighing 200 pounds, bald with blue eyes, and last seen wearing a white T-shirt and red windbreaker pants.
He was scheduled to be released in May 2025 when he would have been taken back to Tennessee to serve a six-year sentence for the other robbery conviction.