BILLINGS — Newly filed court documents shed light on how two inmates managed to escape the Yellowstone County Detention Center Sunday night, leading law enforcement on a nearly day-long manhunt before their arrest Monday evening.
Affidavits filed Tuesday state Cody Flesch, 31, and Quincy Pfister, 23, escaped through a window in their jail cell, then ran across a field and climbed a fence, before disappearing into the trees.
"Something on our end that was overlooked that allowed this to happen, that has been addressed," Sheriff Mike Linder said Monday afternoon, reacting to the escape.
Linder says he will not provide more specific details on the escape, for security purposes.
Both men have been charged with felony escape and felony mischief in connection to Sunday's incident.
For Flesch, it is the fifth time he's allegedly attempted to escape from Yellowstone County facilities.
According to court documents, in October 2021, Flesch tried to break out the window glass and framing in his cell using pieces of metal that resembled a shower drain. Detention officers also found homemade lock picks in his cell and a hand-drawn map of the facility.
Just six months earlier, Flesch had allegedly planned a more elaborate escape, working with friends on the outside. His plan was to cut himself badly enough to be taken to a hospital and have friends ambush the ambulance en route to break him out. Authorities say he tried to carry out this plan twice and even cut himself to get that ambulance ride, but neither attempt was successful and he was charged with four felonies related to escape.
Two weeks later, Flesch was charged with another count of felony attempted escape for running out of a courtroom during a hearing and immediately getting caught. As he was being handcuffed, he allegedly said, "Sorry, I was trying to escape."
“They have a lot of time to think about that, some of them, that’s why it’s so important that we stay on top of our game as well," Linder said.
Bail is currently set at $1.5 million for Flesch and $2 million for Pfister. Both men are scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning.