Santa Clara Co. sheriff announces $25K reward for info leading to capture of 2 inmates

It's day three on the run for escapees Tramel McClough and John Bivins. Now Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to their capture.

The men, both suspects in the armed robbery of a Verizon store, fled from the Palo Alto Courthouse Monday.


They apparently ran right out a side door, after using a key to unlock their restraints.

The union that represents the sheriff's deputies called "staffing" a contributing factor here, but Sheriff Smith says with 15 people on duty that day instead of the usual 13, that actually wasn't the case.

"Staffing wasn't an issue. When inmates are waist-chained and shackled it's very hard for them to get away. If they have a handcuff key, it's not difficult," says Sheriff Smith.

How McClough and Bivins got the key remains a mystery, but the sheriff has a theory. She says drones have been a problem lately.

"Drone is a pretty scary thing right now because of what you can get into a jail. And drugs are the least of our problems. We're concerned about weapons. We're concerned about maybe in this case a handcuff key. We don't know how they got it," says Smith.

There were two getaway vehicles in this case. And now authorities have arrested two people for their role in arranging them.

Rene Hunt, is accused of helping get the first car, a Toyota Camry.

And Marquita Kirk, is accused of renting a U-Haul, which she apparently returned a short time later.

Still no sign of McClough and Bivins though. And the Sheriff says detectives are working 24 hours a day to find them. 

Smith says, "I don't think there were any mistakes made by staff. We have the best staff who did a great job. It was just the totality of the planned escape."

Anyone who spots the men is asked to call 911. People with information can also call the tip line at 408-808-4431.