TAMPA (FOX13) - Four staff members at the juvenile detention facility in Tampa where two teenagers escaped were suspended Monday.
Investigators have said Anthony Bays, 18, and Anthony Cook, 17, ran away from the Falkenburg Academy off Columbus Drive by climbing through a hole that was cut in a chainlink fence. The teenagers remained on the run more than 48 hours later; authorities have not said whether there are any leads.
G4S Youth Services, a private company contracted by the Department of Juvenile Justice to oversee security, confirmed to FOX 13 that three youth care workers and one supervisor were suspended and an internal review is underway.
In a statement, G4S spokesperson Monica Lewman-Garcia wrote:
"Our initial investigation raises questions whether proper procedures were followed. Accordingly, four staff members (three youth care workers and one supervisor) have been suspended from duty...
"Although rare, incidents can happen when working with at-risk and troubled youth. When they do, we work quickly to ensure that any necessary changes are fully implemented to help prevent a re-occurrence."
The DJJ initially indicated law enforcement was immediately contacted about the escape.
But, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the teens got away at about 9:15 a.m. and deputies weren't notified until 10:12 a.m., forcing them to begin a search nearly an hour later. A DJJ spokesperson said the department is investigating why there was a time lapse.
G4S and the DJJ said they are also working on a "corrective action plan" to fix the mistakes that were made.
Bays is from Georgetown, Georgia, while Anthony Cook, 17, is from St. Petersburg. Both were charged with grand theft auto.
Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a reward of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the location and arrest of the two escaped juveniles. Anyone with any information regarding this case and who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com or send a mobile tip using the P3 Tips Mobile application, which is a free download for iPhones and Droids. Crime Stoppers must be contacted first in order to be eligible for a cash reward.