New Jersey

Captured: Search for Escaped Teen Murder Suspect in New Jersey Ends With Him in Custody

The escape took place at the Harborfields Youth Detention Facility in Egg Harbor City around 12:20 a.m. Wednesday.

What to Know

  • Four teens escaped from the Harborfields Youth Detention Facility in Egg Harbor City. The fourth, Michael Huggins, was captured Thursday.
  • The teens overpowered a guard and stole his car, which they later crashed. The teens then fled on foot, wearing little clothing.
  • Huggins was in custody awaiting trial in the killing of a man in Bridgeton, New Jersey, when he escaped.

A New Jersey teenager accused of killing a man was in custody Thursday, 24 hours after escaping from a youth detention center early Wednesday.

The capture occurred around 10:30 a.m. along South Carolina Avenue in Atlantic City as authorities acted on some sort of tip, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner said Thursday afternoon.

Tyner said that Huggins illegally had a gun in his possession when he was captured without incident, Tyner said.

Huggins, 18, is charged with the 2016 slaying of 21-year-old Davonte Lee, of Bridgeton, who was gunned down in a vehicle. He was 17 at the time.

Huggins was taken to the Atlantic County Jail, rather than a juvenile facility, as he awaits further charges, Tyner said.

Atlantic County authorities said Huggins and three other teens attacked a corrections officer at the Harborfields Youth Detention Facility in Egg Harbor, about 20 miles west of Atlantic City, around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday and stole the guard’s car. They sideswiped a vehicle and crashed into a home before running off.

The other three teens, who have not been identified because they are juveniles, were later captured 35 miles away in Bridgeton after about nine hours on the run Wednesday. Authorities said it was not immediately clear how the escapees got as far away as they did.

Tyner called the manhunt by local state and federal authorities that brought in the teens without further incident, "exhaustive."

NBC10/Egg Harbor City Police Department
Murder suspect Michael Huggins is accused of fleeing a South Jersey juvenile detention center.

The guard was taken to a hospital and officials say he is expected to be OK.

Sixteen schools in districts including Egg Harbor City, Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District, Galloway Township, Hamilton Township and St. Vincent de Paul Regional School were shut down Wednesday during the search. The schools reopened Thursday.

Harborfields, which is located at Buffalo Avenue and Duerer Street, houses juveniles awaiting court hearings.

"Harborfields operates under the auspices of the County of Atlantic, Department of Public Safety and is managed, under contract, by the State of New Jersey, Department of Law and Public Safety, Juvenile Justice Commission," the center's website says.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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