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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

US fugitive John Saatio escapes again, this time from Florida police

Three times were not a charm for would-be fugitive John Wesley Saatio.

The 35-year-old U.S. citizen, who was extradited to the U.S. after a year on the lam in Costa Rica, escaped police custody yet again on Saturday, this time in Santa Rosa, Florida, according to local media.

Saatio was arrested late Sunday evening, according to a statement from the Santa Rosa Country Sheriff’s Office. This was Saatio’s third escape from police in the last 12 months.

WEAR-TV reported that Saatio gave state police the slip around 11 p.m. Saturday while officers were transporting him in a prison van through Santa Rosa County, Florida. Police had stopped the van to let Saatio use the bathroom, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Sunday afternoon, a neighbor reported a suspicious person matching Saatio’s description in a wooded area around the town of Milton. Police sent a K-9 unit to track the suspect. After a four-hour search police found and arrested Saatio. He had two makeshift handcuff keys in his socks.

Saatio has proven a slippery charge for police. In June, Costa Rican police arrested Saatio in the central Pacific beach town of Jacó based on a warrant from Interpol. Authorities moved him to an immigration detention center in the Hatillo neighborhood of San José, from where he successfully escaped for nearly 48 hours before he was apprehended.

Costa Rican immigration officials extradited Saatio to the U.S. accompanied by two U.S. Marshals on June 25.

Saatio first escaped police who were driving him to jail after he was arraigned in Houghton, Michigan in June 2015. He faces a lengthy prison sentence in the U.S. for charges of home invasion, destruction of police property, and violating probation.

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