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Freedom Short-Lived for Escaped Inmate

A Kalkaska County inmate got 32 minutes of freedom this weekend, but now faces serious time in prison to pay for it. Police say Donnie Keeton escaped from the Kalkaska County jail around 8:30 Sunday night. Investigators believe Keeton planned his escape out the emergency fire exit. The door is only accessible to minimum security inmates — and is not monitored by security cameras. About ten officers and a tracking dog followed Keeton's footprints around in the snow. “He was sneaking around in the dark,” says Sheriff Dave Israel with the Kalkaska County Sheriff's Department. During his escape, police say somebody Keeton knew let him into their home. Police say the person also let Keeton use their telephone, but police are still investigating whether they were knowingly aiding a fugitive. Eventually Keeton left the house and hung out in low lit areas in the neighborhood, says Israel. With help from the public, police found Keeton about a half hour after he escaped. “He indicated to the investigator that he had a chance to visit his children at Christmas and just simply wanted to see them again,” he says. But police think Keeton escaped partly because he suspected police were closer to charging him with other crimes. Keeton was a few weeks into a three month sentence for skipping a court appearance for a theft charge. 9&10's Ryan Raiche and Photojournalist Jeremy Erickson have the story.