RACINE — The woman who escaped from Ellsworth Correctional Facility and was found six days later in Green Bay appeared in court Tuesday.
Christine L. Abel, 36, whose last known address is in Brown County, is charged with felony counts of escape, burglary of a building or dwelling, operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent and theft of movable property between $10,000 and $100,000, as a repeat offender.
According to the criminal complaint:
On April 19, the Racine County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Ellsworth Correctional Facility, 21425 Spring St., Dover, for a report of an escaped inmate from their facility. Correctional officers said that Abel, who was serving time for committing a burglary in Brown County, was missing from final headcount that night.
While deputies were at the prison, a call came in regarding a stolen vehicle for a nearby residence. Authorities traced footprints in the snow leaving Ellsworth to a Dover home where a 2007 GMC Sierra was reported stolen.
The truck’s owner said he and his girlfriend were at a home they were remodeling that belonged to his girlfriend’s parents. The two went out to dinner and when they returned, the truck was missing. The truck had keys in it and $50 in cash.
The truck owner’s girlfriend said someone had been inside the home because mud was smeared on the windows and inside the home, stating that because they were installing new furniture and flooring, the house had been kept very clean. She said the door was locked, but the windows had not been replaced and did not lock.
On April 22, the truck was found in Green Bay. Three days later, Abel was also located in Green Bay. She admitted escaping through a gate at the prison, and taking the truck, but denied going inside the home.
Abel said she lived in homeless tents before catching up with her boyfriend when she was found by police.
During Abel’s initial appearance Tuesday, a $2,500 cash bond was set, online records show. She remains in custody. A preliminary hearing is set for May 23 at the Law Enforcement Center, 717 Wisconsin Ave.
The same week Abel escaped from Ellsworth, another inmate at the facility — Jennifer Drost — reportedly walked away from a work release site in Kenosha County. The Journal Times was unable to obtain information Tuesday if Drost remained out of custody.