13 Investigates exclusive: Former inmate arrested after prison break


Sandra Chapman/13 Investigates

Michigan City - Two dangerous inmates remain at large three days after a prison break from an Indiana maximum security prison. Three prison guards were suspended for negligence in failing to supervise the prisoners.

The three inmates who escaped somehow gained access to tunnels and underground pipes to make their escape. Cutting bars from those tunnels could have taken several days or weeks to complete.

13 Investigates is learning more about the possibility that the men had outside help, and a convict sentenced in a notorious Indiana crime is back behind bars.

Months ago, the three Michigan City prison escapees said good-bye to fellow inmate 44-year-old Paul Komyatti.

At 17, Komyatti was sentenced to 100 years for murder and conspiracy. He and family members stabbed and decapitated his own father. He even tried to escape from the Hamilton County Jail.

In May, Komyatti was allowed to go free with time for good behavior and earning a bachelor's and two associates degrees.

But 13 Investigates has learned Komyatti was re-arrested in Indianapolis on Tuesday after US Marshals showed up at his home with questions about the Michigan City prison break.

According to records obtained from the DOC Parole office: "Komyatti admitted to being in Michigan City on 7/10. He left Indianapolis around 5:00 pm and went to the Dunes State Park in Michigan City and arrived there around dark, approximately 9:30 pm. He then went to the Blue Chip Casino...and ran into a current or former Correctional Officer...spoke for a few minutes."

After a few hours, Komyatti says he returned to Indianapolis at around 3:30 am the next day. He denies having any contact with the escapees, but admits knowing the guys from Cell Block I.

"These men were in what we call a honored cell house. I wouldn't describe them as model but they were in a dorm that entitles them to more privileges because of their behavior; their good behavior," said Doug Garrison, Indiana Dept. of Corrections.

Garrison would not elaborate about any possible connection between Komyatti and the recent prison break.

Charles Smith, 48, of New Castle was recaptured Monday eight miles from the State Prison. 45-year-old rapist Lance Battreal of Rockport and 46-year-old murderer Mark Booher of New Castle are still on the run.

Wednesday, three Michigan City Correctional Officers were suspended for neglect in supervising two of the offenders doing maintenance work near the tunnels. Investigators now believe the offenders had unauthorized and unsupervised access to the tunnels on numerous occasions.

Garrison said there was no indication that the guards assisted the inmates in the escape.

Komyatti is now being held at the State Prison at Michigan City on parole violations for unauthorized travel and driving without a valid license. His girlfriend confirms he lived on the same floor as the escapees.

The prison, meantime, remains on lockdown.

Reward increased

The reward for information leading to the capture of the two remaining escapees is now up to $6,000.

You can submit a tip regarding the current or potential whereabouts of 46-year-old Mark Booher of New Castle or 45-year-old Lance Battreal at 1-800-78CRIME (1-800-782-7463) or to go online. WeTip operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with English and Spanish speaking operators. Tipsters will remain anonymous.