An accused rapist who escaped a prison van by overpowering an Ohio sheriff’s deputy fatally shot himself at his parents’ home while police were trying to secure his surrender, authorities said Tuesday.

Branden Lee Powell, 32, escaped Friday during a trip from a Toledo psychiatric hospital to the Paulding County Jail. Sheriff Jason Landers said officers found Powell in a crawl space and were trying to persuade him to give himself up when he killed himself.

Landers says Powell was in leg shackles, handcuffs and a belly belt on Friday when he leaped over a seat in the van and put the deputy in a headlock. The van crashed into a ditch, and Powell grabbed the deputy’s gun during the struggle. Powell then demanded, at gunpoint, that the deputy free him.

Powell handcuffed the deputy to the steering wheel, removed the van’s radio and fled.

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SOURCE: USA Today, John Bacon

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