Police release more information on Bellevue courthouse escapee arrest

Wendell Downs escaped police custody at the Bellevue District Courthouse on Jan. 31. He was apprehended a month later in Renton. - Bellevue Police
Wendell Downs escaped police custody at the Bellevue District Courthouse on Jan. 31. He was apprehended a month later in Renton.
— image credit: Bellevue Police

Bellevue and Renton Police caught up with and arrested Wendell Downs on Feb. 28, a month after his escape from custody at the Bellevue District Courthouse.

Downs, 20, had been in custody since Nov. 12, when he was booked on first-degree robbery, second-degree organized retail theft and two other felony theft charges. He was at the Bellevue Courthouse Jan. 31 for a misdemeanor traffic case.

A Bellevue police support officer brought Downs and another inmate to the courthouse from the King County Jail around 11 a.m. Both inmates had their hands shackled in front of them and feet shackled to prevent them from running.

Downs is reported to have started running after he was helped out of the van and is believed to have been picked up by his girlfriend, Tanjanique Hillis, at the bottom of the courthouse driveway. Hillis was arrested at another King County Courthouse on Feb. 18, but later released. She was arrested again with another woman alleged to have been an accomplice of Downs, Denisha R. Dunston.

Police reported Tuesday members of the Bellevue Police Special Enforcement Team and detectives located Downs and attempted to initiate a traffic stop on Friday. Downs reportedly stopped the car in Renton and fled on foot before being captured by Bellevue and Renton officers. He was arrested on Northeast 18th Street in Renton.

Hillis and Dunston allegedly drove off after Downs left the vehicle, but were stopped and arrested a few miles away. Police report a 1-year-old child was found unrestrained in the vehicle and taken into protective custody. Downs and Hillis have a child together.

Hillis and Dunston were arrested for first-degree rendering criminal assistance. All three will face a judge sometime this week on multiple charges.


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