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Girlfriend of Bellevue Courthouse escapee arrested

Photo of Tanjanique Hillis released by Bellevue Police - Bellevue Police Department
Photo of Tanjanique Hillis released by Bellevue Police
— image credit: Bellevue Police Department

UPDATE: The Bellevue Police Department has released new photos, at bottom, of Wendell Downs III in order to provide a better view of his distinctive "206" neck tattoo.

According to Lt. Marcia Harnden, investigators in the case have learned some people are fearful to call 911. Police are now encouraging anyone with information on Downs or his whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (1-800-222-8477).

Bellevue Police have confirmed a 20-year-old woman alleged to have helped her boyfriend escape custody at the Bellevue District Courthouse on Jan. 31 was arrested on a warrant Tuesday while at another King County courthouse.

Bellevue Police Lt. Marcia Harnden said authorities are still trying to determine what brought Tanjanique Hillis to the courthouse, adding escaped convict Wendell Downs remains at large.

Hillis is alleged to have helped Downs, 20, escape the Bellevue courthouse, where he had been transported for a hearing on a misdemeanor case. Downs was arrested Nov. 12 for first-degree robbery, second-degree organized retail theft and two other felony theft charges.

Court documents state Downs called Hillis prior to his escape from custody and directed her to go inside the courthouse to confirm his transport. Witnesses identified Hillis as the woman who requested information about Downs' court hearing before his escape.

Hillis is believed to have been waiting for Downs inside her vehicle in the courthouse parking lot and picked him up at the driveway after he ran from a Bellevue police support officer.

"Every indication was that this was a planned event and he clearly had help," said Harnden.

Harnden added police are not optimistic Hillis will assist law enforcement in locating Downs.

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