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Officials: OHP air unit critical in search, capture of escaped Lincoln Co. inmates

NORMAN, Okla. - The U.S. Marshals Service says the Oklahoma Highway Patrol's air unit was a key piece in searching and apprehending four inmates who escaped from the Lincoln County jail earlier this week.

"What we had going for us there was the helicopter," said Lincoln County Sheriff Charles Dougherty Thursday afternoon. "Was able to see him; after, the ground (units) started pulling down and was able to direct people into the target."

Brian Moody, 23, was taken in to custody by U.S. Marshals near Fallis, Thursday afternoon.

"He surrendered without incident, he knew the helicopter was right on top of him and he had no more go in him," Dougherty said.

The U.S. Marshals Service says they found Moody in a field near County Roads 3290 and 900 in Lincoln County.

"(Oklahoma Highway Patrol's) Air Unit was critical in the capture of Moody," said U.S. Marshals Metro Fugitive Task Force Supervisor Cal Stephens in an email to NewsChannel 4.

All four inmates are now back in custody after a relentless search that spanned Lincoln and Pottawatomie Counties over the last four days.

Moody, Sonny Baker, 41; Trey Goodnight, 27; were in jail for felony property crimes. A fourth man, 31-year-old Jeremy Irvin, was being jailed on a first-degree murder charge.

Authorities say Baker, Goodnight, Moody and Irvin slipped out of jail through the ventilation system some time after midnight Monday morning. Moody, Baker and a another man escaped in the same fashion back in March.

Baker was captured near the town of Carney in Lincoln County on Wednesday; Goodnight and Irvin were captured near the town of Dale in Pottawatomie County, also on Wednesday.

“We spooked them up from somewhere, they tried to cross the river," said Trooper Kyle Borden, one of the pilots in the air when Goodnight and Irvin were captured. "That’s when the helicopter crew picked them up, we followed them until they went to the tree line.”

"The first two we caught together, that was a long day," Borden said.

Over the last four days, more than 23 hours of flight time was spent on the manhunts.

As Dougherty and the U.S. Marshals heaped praise on the help from the sky, Borden brushed it aside.

“I would like to give credit to the numerous agencies that were out there," said Borden. "We play a small part.”