32 Teenagers Flee Nashville Detention Center, And Most Are Still On The Run

It may sound like the plot of a blockbuster — or an upcoming Stephen King novel — but a group of teens at a youth detention center were able to make a run for it over Labor Day weekend. Thirty-two teens escaped from the Woodland Hills Youth Development Center in Nashville on Monday night after reportedly crawling through a hole in the property's fence. According to The Los Angeles Times, 17 teens remain on the run as of Tuesday morning.

Tennessee Department of Children's Services spokesman Rob Johnson told The Los Angeles Times that the group of teenage detainees escaped the facility around 11 p.m. on Monday. At the time of the escape, a shift change was going on in the detention center, which possibly made it easier for the teenagers to bolt.

Johnson said:

Apparently [the teen escapees] were able to find a weak spot at the bottom of the fence and they were able to go underneath it. ... [Metro police are] urging anyone who might see any of these kids to call law enforcement to apprehend them.

He added to ABC News that the fence was an "anti-climb chain-linked fence." The news source reported that at least one of teens turned himself in, while the others were apprehended during the night in nearby neighborhoods.

In all, 32 teens were able to escape from the state-operated detention center, which is located on the outskirts of Nashville. Teens at Woodland Hills have committed at least three felonies.

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Woodland Hills is one of three youth detention centers for young men between 14 and 19 run by the state of Tennessee. According to the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, the median age of the detention center population is 17.

This isn't the first time the Nashville youth detention facility has found its security in a bit of trouble. In 2013, surveillance footage caught security guards at the center sleeping on the job. According to local news station WSMV, footage shows the security guards taking naps while they were supposed to be monitoring the center's surveillance systems.

An attorney representing many of the center's detainees told the station at the time that sleeping guards just make it a whole lot easier for the teens to escape — of course. "If a person who is held wants to be out, the best time is when a guard is sleeping," attorney Everette Parrish said.

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