Two inmates were captured and returned to the Hill County Jail on Saturday afternoon, about nine hours after they escaped.

The inmates were trusties, meaning they had been granted special privileges for good behavior. Billy Clyde Crelia, 39, and Corey Robert Buckner, 38, escaped between 5 and 5:04 a.m., when they were supposed to be preparing breakfast, according to a Hill County Sheriff’s Office press release. They escaped through a fence that had been cut, and clothing was found in a wooded area north of the sheriff’s office, according to the press release.

Crelia had been in jail since Dec. 12 because of a parole violation. His original conviction was for possession of a controlled substance, and the parole violation is for an allegation of engaging in organized criminal activity. His bond had been set at $250,000.

Crelia has a West address and has ties to the Bellmead area.

Buckner had been convicted of evading arrest in a vehicle and is under parole hold on a robbery charge. He has been jailed since Oct. 18 and has an address in Kountze, north of Beaumont. His bond had been set at $200,000.

Found in Waco area

Sheriff’s office Operations Capt. Scott Robinson said the men were found in the Waco area after the escape and taken into custody by U.S. marshals and Hill County deputies.

Warrants charging Crelia and Buckner in the escape have been made.

Lee Harris, judge for the 66th State District Court, said he had not received any information after noon from the sheriff’s office and said he is “shocked and disappointed” to learn of the escapees’ trusty status.

Harris said he set high bonds because he thought “flight risk and protection of the public required it. Those are my two considerations in every case.”

Seven of 20 Hill County Jail trusties have parole holds, meaning they are being held in jail on allegations they violated their paroles, which could lead to their return to prison.

A game warden’s tracking dog followed the men’s scents to Highway 22, where the scent trails ended. Texas Department of Corrections dogs confirmed the first dog’s findings, according to the sheriff’s office.

Officials believe the men were picked up by a vehicle at that point.

Phillip Ericksen joined the Tribune-Herald in March 2015 as a sports copy editor. That November, he joined the news team. He has covered higher education, city hall, politics and crime.

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