Escaped Idaho inmate and accomplice captured following 'brazen' ambush at hospital

Their bail was set at $2 million on Friday.

March 22, 2024, 3:58 PM

An inmate who escaped from an Idaho hospital with an accomplice who opened fire on correction officers in a "brazen" attack are each being held on $2 million bail following their capture.

The Idaho Department of Correction inmate, Skylar Meade, and shooting suspect Nicholas Umphenour were located in the Twin Falls area around 2 p.m. local time Thursday following a 36-hour manhunt, according to Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar.

They were taken into custody following a short vehicle pursuit and are being detained at the Twin Falls County jail, according to Lt. Col. Sheldon Kelley from the Idaho State Police. They may face prosecution in several other locations, he said.

PHOTO: Inmate Skylar Meade was recaptured Thursday, March 21, 2024, after escaping from a hospital in Boise, Idaho, with the help of a second man who opened fire on police.
Inmate Skylar Meade was recaptured Thursday, March 21, 2024, after escaping from a hospital in Boise, Idaho, with the help of a second man who opened fire on police.
Twin Falls County Sheriff

Meade and Umphenour were located at a residence in Filer, Idaho, on Thursday, police said. As law enforcement secured the residence, both fled in different vehicles before being apprehended without incident, police said.

A woman who allegedly helped Meade flee from the Filer residence has also been arrested. Tonia Huber, 52, of Filer, is being charged with harboring a fugitive and possession of a controlled substance. Prosecutors said she drove more than 100 mph through neighborhoods in Twin Falls to try to help Meade escape before finally stopping in a store parking lot.

All three were arraigned in Twin Falls County on Friday.

Meade has been charged with felony escape and has a warrant out of Ada County -- home to Boise -- for his arrest. Umphenour's charges include aggravated battery on law enforcement, use of a firearm in a crime and aiding and abetting. Both are being held on $2 million bail.

Huber was given $500,000 bail, as well as $5,000 bail for a previous failure to appear in an unrelated case. She asked for leniency because she has spent her whole life in the area and has a family and a job in the health care industry.

State police are investigating two homicides believed to be tied to this incident that occurred in separate locations on Wednesday, after the two men fled from a Boise hospital where Meade had received treatment, according to state police.

The two suspects are believed to have driven north in a stolen gray Honda Civic before encountering 83-year-old James Mauney as he walked his dogs near Juliaetta, state police said. Law enforcement on Wednesday found the Honda Civic abandoned in a "desolate area" near Leland, Idaho, with Mauney's body nearby, police said. Detectives do not believe the victim knew the suspects, police said.

State police said they are also investigating the homicide of 72-year-old Gerald "Don" Henderson at his home outside Orofino, Idaho. Mauney's dogs and a pair of shackles believed to have been left by Meade were found in the home, police said.

"Detectives believe Henderson may have been acquainted with the suspects, but the duration and extent are unknown," Idaho State Police said in a statement on Friday.

The causes and manners of death for both men remain under investigation, police said.

PHOTO: Nicholas Umphenour was arrested for allegedly shooting at law enforcement and assisting Skylar Meade escape from police custody in Idaho.
Nicholas Umphenour was arrested for allegedly shooting at law enforcement and assisting Skylar Meade escape from police custody in Idaho.
Twin Falls County Sheriff

The manhunt for Meade and his accomplice began early Wednesday, following what authorities described as a planned ambush. Meade had been transported to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise Tuesday night for treatment after engaging in "self-injurious behavior," according to Idaho Department of Correction director Josh Tewalt.

As correction officers were preparing to transport him back to the Idaho Maximum Security Institution around 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, an individual "attacked and fired" at the officers, striking two, Boise police said.

A third correction officer was shot by a Boise officer who responded to reports of an active shooter inside the hospital's emergency department, Boise police said. The officer fired his weapon at an armed individual near the entrance who was determined to be an Idaho Department of Correction officer, police said.

Investigators ultimately determined that Meade and his accomplice fled in the Honda Civic just prior to Boise officers arriving, police said.

Umphenour is an "associate" of Meade, police said. The two, at one point, were in the same housing unit while at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution and were linked by "both having membership with the Aryan Knights," according to Tewalt. Umphenour was released from custody in January, Tewalt said.

The Idaho Department of Correction is investigating how the escape was planned, Tewalt said. There was increased security for Meade's hospital transport due to his history and he was in restraints while being escorted out of the hospital, Tewalt said. The transport "was in line with our policies," he said, adding that they are now investigating whether their policies and protocols are "sufficient enough."

Two of the correction officers shot during the escape remain hospitalized Thursday afternoon in stable and improving condition, while one has since been released, Tewalt said.

Meade, 31, has been serving time for aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer with a firearm enhancement, according to police and Idaho Department of Correction records. His sentence was through October 2036, with parole eligibility starting in October 2026, the correction records show.

He has been incarcerated since October 2016 and has prior convictions including felony possession of a controlled substance, grand theft and introduction of contraband into a correctional facility, police said.

ABC News' Tristan Maglunog and Alex Stone contributed to this report.