Twice-escaped Brown Co. inmate recaptured, sheriff says

Escaped inmate back behind bars in Brown Co.

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (FOX19) - A Brown County inmate who escaped from the jail in late December has been recaptured, according to Brown County Sheriff Gordon Ellis.

Hobert Roark, 40, escaped on Dec. 29 by exploiting “a weakness in one of the security windows,” the sheriff said at the time.

An investigation spanning five weeks and involving ten law enforcement agencies ensued.

It came to an end Tuesday around 2:30 p.m., when Roark was arrested by US Marshals and the Portsmouth Police Department in the 1500 block of Fourth Street in Portsmouth.

Also arrested was his girlfriend, Desiree Phillips, 39, who Ellis says was hiding with Roark in her basement. She is being held at the Scioto County Detention Center on forthcoming obstruction charges.

Roark has been returned to the Brown County Detention Center.

He had been held on charges including burglary, grand theft, receiving stolen property, failure to comply with a police officer, and possession of firearms under disability. Now he faces additional charges of escape and vandalism, Ellis says.

This was the second time Roark escaped from the same jail in as many months, both times through a window.

On Nov. 17, Roark ran off around 6:30 p.m. after he used a disassembled part of his bed to break a security window at the jail, the sheriff’s office said in January.

He was eventually arrested at a Goodwill store in Portsmouth and taken into custody without incident by the Portsmouth Police Department.

After his second escape, an all-out search for Roark ensued. Authorities used K9s and aviation assets to search the area.

Less than a week later, Ellis reported Roark had possibly stolen a white van on Mount Orab Pike and left the area.

“The Brown County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all of the Law Enforcement Agencies that participated in the investigation and arrest of Hobert Roark,” Ellis said Tuesday.

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