Wichita — A former prison guard accused of helping two inmates escape from a Kansas prison tearfully asked about her children and sounded scared in brief phone calls from a New Mexico jail to her family, her mother said.
The arrests Wednesday ended a search for inmates Steven A. Ford and Jesse L. Bell and former guard Amber Goff that lasted more than two days and spanned some 600 miles. Authorities say Ford and Bell escaped from a recreation yard at the El Dorado Correctional Facility near Wichita on Sunday night.
"She asked about her boys. She wanted to know where her boys were and if they were OK," Ann Nutter said about her brief conversation with her daughter. "That's my daughter."
The 23-year-old divorced mother left her two sons, ages 5 and 7, with her sister Sunday night before allegedly helping the two prison inmates escape.
Nutter spoke to her daughter Wednesday night. New Mexico jail officials allowed Goff one free, one-minute call per phone number, and the family used the home phone and two cell phones to speak to her in a conversation dominated by tears, Nutter said.
"She sounds scared," Nutter told The Wichita Eagle.
Nutter said the next time she talks to her daughter she planned to ask her, "Are we safe?" She said if Goff answers, "yes," that would tell the family she was a willing participant in the escape. If her answer is "no," the family would take that to mean there were more people involved than just the inmates.
Nutter said she was not sure when she would speak to her daughter again.
Nutter said that if her daughter was a willing participant, she needs to take responsibility for her actions.
"She sowed this row and she's going to hoe it," she said.
Bell, 33, was booked on charges of felon in possession of a firearm, evading-fleeing a police officer, possession of stolen property and escaping a prison facility.
Ford, 26, was booked on charges of tampering with evidence, assault with intent to commit a violent felony, felon in possession of a firearm, evading-fleeing a police officer and escaping a prison facility.
Goff was charged Monday with aiding an escape from a correctional facility and aiding a felon after an escape. She was booked on that warrant in New Mexico.
All three are being held in New Mexico pending extradition.