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Visitations at TCF were canceled last weekend after another prisoner escaped

police unit at ASCC when police apprehended a prison escapee on campus late last month

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — An inmate who escaped from confinement last Friday caused the usual weekend visitations at the TCF to be put on hold for the weekend. The last minute changes stirred up anger from several family members and as a result, Samoa News was contacted.

A family member of an inmate told Samoa News that they only found out from TCF guards who were on duty last Saturday and Sunday that family members were not allowed to see their loved ones, but they could only drop off food and other necessities.

“I asked one of the TCF guards who was standing at the main gate about the reason why we were not allowed to see our Dad, and I was told that there were several police officers inside the TCF compound at that time, investigating an incident regarding an inmate who escaped from confinement Friday night,” the frustrated family member told Samoa News.

A woman whose husband is detained at the TCF told Samoa News that she and her 4 young children went to visit her husband, but they were informed about the situation, and as a result, her children were unable to see their father.

“I was disappointed because my eldest daughter wanted to see her father before returning back to Hawai’i Monday night; unfortunately, she was unable to say goodbye to her father,” the mother told Samoa News.

A reliable source (RS) confirmed to Samoa News that there was an inmate who escaped from confinement Friday night, but he was recaptured the next day. The RS also confirmed that weekend family visits were put on hold, because cops were investigating  how the inmate escaped.

According to the RS, the inmate left the TCF compound around 6p.m. Friday, after which he hung around with some friends, drank alcohol, and played pool at a place he and his friends frequented before he was detained. Police were able to interview some of the young men who were hanging out with the inmate Friday night between 7 and 9p.m., before he burglarized an Asian-owned store in the Tafuna area.

Police obtained footage taken from the store surveillance cameras which confirmed that the man in the video was the TCF escapee.

The RS also told Samoa News that police were able to review and obtain video footage from the Department of Education building, located to the left of the TCF compound. It was clear from the DOE video footage that there was movement on Friday night, with one man exiting the TCF fence through a hole.

It’s believed this is the same hole that was discovered by TCF officers last month when they tried to check whether inmate Manu Lefatia (suspect in the Leone shooting) was in his cell.

The RS said police have reviewed a report prepared by a TCF officer from the night shift which states that a count was conducted around 11p.m. Friday, and the inmate was in his cell.

However, Samoa News understands that the escapee's friends have confirmed that they had a drinking session with the inmate around 8p.m. Friday.

Reports of TCF escapees are hardly new. Two weeks ago, an inmate was seen at the ASCC compound around 8a.m.

Students who know the escapee immediately alerted ASCC security, and he was  apprehended right away and transported back to the TCF in a police unit.

Last month, the government filed a new case against three inmates who are serving time, after they escaped from confinement July 6, 2018. They are: Vatia Tugaga, Jason Muasau, and Andrew Peters.