Authorities search for escaped Ohio rape suspect

PAULDING, Ohio (AP) – Authorities say an Ohio rape suspect remains on the loose after he overpowered a sheriff’s deputy in a transport van, stole his gun and fled.

The Paulding County sheriff and federal agents are looking for 32-year-old Branden Lee Powell. Powell overpowered a deputy on a trip Friday from a psychiatric hospital to a county jail.

The sheriff’s office said Monday the search continued. Powell was in leg shackles and handcuffs when he jumped over the seat and put the deputy in a headlock, causing the van to crash.

Powell grabbed the deputy’s gun and ordered him to remove the restraints. Powell was jailed last month on rape, attempted rape and sexual battery charges.

A $2,000 reward has been offered for information leading to his apprehension.

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