Police believe they have found the body of a convicted murderer who escaped from an Ohio prison in the Ohio River near Henderson, Kentucky, officials said. Bradley Gillespie was reported missing Tuesday along with another inmate, James Lee, who wasearly Wednesday morning.
The body was recovered near Gillespie’s last known location, and an autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, Henderson Police Chief Sean McKinney said Sunday.
McKinney said the information was preliminary, “but everything we have seen and done indicates that this is Mr. Gillespie that we have recovered.”
A boater on the river spotted the body and alerted police around 1:30 p.m. local time. Investigators believe the body had been in the water for “four to five days,” McKinney said.
Police had previously conducted searches in the area where the body was found, but, McKinney said, Gillespie’s body had probably not yet floated to the surface.
“We are glad to have closure to this situation,” McKinney told reporters. “However, I do not feel it is appropriate to celebrate death of any life at this time.”
Gillespie, 50, and Lee, 47, were last seen on prison surveillance cameras Monday morning, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Ohio State Highway Patrol. During an inmate count Tuesday morning at the Allen-Oakwood Correctional Institution in Lima, Ohio, officials realized Lee was missing and subsequently found that Gillespie was also gone.
Early Wednesday morning, police in Henderson, Kentucky, spotted a stolen vehicle that the pair were believed to be using, according to a statement. Officers tried to pull the vehicle over, but it sped away and crashed, police said. The two men then fled on foot, and Lee was arrested.
Gillespie had been at the Ohio prison since late 2016, according to the state correction department. Lee was admitted to the prison in 2021 after being convicted of several crimes, including breaking and entering, burglary and safecracking.