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Cousin charged with assisting fugitive who escaped from transport van

Leon Taylor, facing murder charges in Indiana, escaped from a transport van on December 14, 2020.
Leon Taylor, facing murder charges in Indiana, escaped from a transport van on December 14, 2020.(Lake County Sheriff)
Published: Dec. 23, 2020 at 8:41 PM CST
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GARY, Ind. (AP) — A cousin of a murder suspect who escaped from a security company’s transport van in northwest Indiana has been charged with assisting a criminal after authorities say he tried to collect money for his fugitive relative.

Antorries Brown, 22, posed as his cousin, Leon Taylor, while communicating with an undercover officer on Facebook and asked the officer to send him money so he could “make a move,” Lake County prosecutors said in a probable cause affidavit.

Taylor escaped on Dec. 14 in Gary from a van operated by REDI Transports of Green Bay, Wisconsin, as he was being extradited to Lake County from Texas.

A Lake County sheriff’s detective had created a fake Facebook account to investigate whether the 22-year-old Taylor had any outside help in avoiding arrest after his escape.

During that investigation, the location of the cellphone used in the Facebook communication was traced to a Gary residence. Brown was arrested there Dec. 18 after being found in possession of that phone, police said.

He appeared Tuesday for his initial hearing and a judge ordered him held on $50,000 bond. Brown has a court-appointed public defender, but online court records do not list the attorney’s name.

Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. said Tuesday that authorities are intensifying their effort to find Taylor, saying that “anyone who helps Taylor will be arrested and brought to justice.”

According to court records, he is accused of working with a 14-year-old boy to kill a Chicago man, Daniel Nitzsche, 52, on Nov. 19 outside an East Chicago building Nitzsche co-owned, The (Northwest Indiana) Times has reported.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved.