A Fugitive Is Missing in New Jersey's Sewers

Officials hope he got away
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2016 4:10 AM CDT
Cops staked out manholes in the area after Jean fled into the sewer system.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

(Newser) – This is one fugitive who authorities hope managed to get away. Keith Jean fled into the sewer system in Newark, NJ, two weeks ago after swimming across the Passaic River to get away from police, and there's been no sign of him since either inside or outside the sewer system, NJ Advance Media reports. The chances of the 31-year-old having created a Penguin-style crime lair down there are slim: Officials say the outflow pipe he entered leads to a network of cramped chambers where he would find potentially deadly gases, and to a main tunnel where there's a constant flow of human waste from Newark and 47 other northern New Jersey communities.

Robots have searched the tunnels, and cadaver dogs have sniffed sewer grates, but they haven't found traces of Jean, alive or dead. Cops say he was a passenger in a car stopped for suspicious activity near a parking lot where there had been reports of car break-ins, the Jersey Journal reports. After he fled, they discovered there were warrants out for his arrest in two New Jersey counties. Manholes were staked out after he fled into the sewer, but police believe he may still have been able to slip away. "With any luck, he just got out," says the executive director of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, though he notes that a dead body probably wouldn't disrupt the flow of sewage. (Read more New Jersey stories.)

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