On February 1, 2009 at 9:30 P.M., the Idaho County Sheriff’s Dispatch was notified of the escape of two inmates from the North Idaho Correctional Institution (NICI) in Cottonwood, Idaho.
Personnel from the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office, NICI, Cottonwood City Police and Idaho State Police responded to the area. Cottonwood City Police Chief Terry Cochran captured the suspects 30 minutes later near the intersection of Front and Idaho Streets in Cottonwood.
Escapee 19 year-old Christopher A. Melton is from Grangeville and was sentenced to NICI in October 2008 by Nez Perce County for Grand Theft by Possession. Melton’s history includes Grand Theft, Driving Under the Influence, Alcohol and Traffic Offenses in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Escapee 19 year-old Brandon K. Ritchie is from Boise and was sentenced to NICI in October 2008 by Ada County for Grand Theft. Ritchie’s history includes Burglary and Grand Theft in Idaho.
Melton and Ritchie made their way into Cottonwood where they attempted to locate a vehicle to steal and burglarized a vehicle in the area of the Cottonwood City Park.
Subjects will be held by the Idaho Department of Corrections while awaiting court hearings on additional felony charges of Escape and Burglary.
Sheriff Giddings and Chief Cochran remind residents they should never leave their vehicles unattended with the keys in them.