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STARK COUNTY Inmate takes bus to Colo., returns himself to prison

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The mistakenly released inmate arranged his own ride back to prison.
CANTON (AP) -- An inmate mistakenly released by Ohio authorities arranged his own way back to the Colorado prison where he has to serve two more years.
The Stark County jail let Ricky Lee Claycomb go on Tuesday after he was acquitted of a rape charge. His jailers never saw the paperwork to ensure his return to Colorado, the sheriff said.
So Claycomb, 37, took a bus back to the state where he has been serving a robbery sentence and, after visiting his mother, had a relative drive him to the prison.
"He was nice enough to call ahead," said Katherine Sanguinetti, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections. "I think he was afraid we would shoot him or something, but it wasn't his fault Ohio let him go."
Authorities brought Claycomb to Ohio from the Fremont Correctional Facility in Canyon City, Colo., last October to stand trial in the alleged 1994 rape of a woman. A crime database indicated a match between his DNA and semen collected from the woman.
However, a jury acquitted him after Claycomb testified he had consensual sex with the woman the day before the assault.
Missing paperwork
Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson said paperwork to ensure Claycomb's return to prison apparently wasn't available on Tuesday when he was released.
"We don't know exactly what happened," Swanson said.
Claycomb called his mother for help, and she sent him a bus ticket and called Colorado prison officials.
"He told them at the jail that he was supposed to be taken back to Colorado," said his mother, Jill Claycomb. "He said they told him he was done in Canton and it was his problem to get back."
Soon after her conversation with her son, Stark County authorities called to find out if she knew where he was.
"I told a detective what happened, that he was coming back to Colorado on his own," she said. "He just said, 'Bless Ricky's little heart.'"
Claycomb visited his mother in Henderson, Colo., after the two-day bus trip, eating her oatmeal and peaches for breakfast and a pizza for lunch. Then, his brother drove him to the prison.