Sheriff: Man escapes central Missouri jail due to COVID-related staff shortages


Christopher Koepke

UPDATE: Christopher Koepke has been located by police and placed under arrest.

MARIES COUNTY, Mo. – Authorities in a central Missouri county are asking for the public’s help in locating a man who escaped from jail because of COVID-related staff shortages.

According to a spokesperson for the Maries County Sheriff’s Office, Christopher Koepke of Owensville escaped the local jail on Aug. 16 while being processed.

Koepke, 35, had been charged with failure to appear in court for felony possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, and two misdemeanor traffic violations.

The spokesperson said Koepke’s bail bondsman convinced him to appear at the sheriff’s office using a ruse and turned Koepke over to deputies.

Koepke was able to escape during the booking process and before he could be admitted to the jail.

The sheriff’s office has been coping with short staffing due to COVID illness, the spokesperson said, and deputies were unable to stop Koepke from running out the exterior doors.

The sheriff’s office has filed an additional charge of escape from custody with the Maries County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Anyone with information on Koepke’s location can call the Maries County Sheriff’s Office at 573-422-3381 or by sending them a direct message on their Facebook page.

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