Police need help locating fugitive


Laurel County Sheriff

Press Release

Sheriff John Root is reporting that escapee 42-year-old Richard Shell was found about 4 p.m. Wednesday in Lexington. He was reported missing shortly before 9 a.m. on Tuesday from Blackburn Correctional Complex.

Richard Shell
Richard Shell

Special to The Mountain Advocate

Laurel County Sheriff’s deputies are asking the public to be on the lookout for an escapee from the Blackburn correctional facility who has ties to the area.

According to Sheriff John Root, 42-year-old Richard Todd Shell escaped from the minimum-security facility in Lexington.

According to officials with the Kentucky Department of Corrections, Shell walked away from the facility.

“He was confirmed missing at 8:46 a.m.,” said Michael Caudill, public information officer for the department of corrections.

Shell has previous addresses in Corbin, Clay County and London.

Shell was serving a 16-year sentence on charges of receiving stolen property in Laurel County.

London Police arrested shell in Oct. following an investigation into a complaint of a suspicious man looking into parked vehicles at the London Walmart.

When officers responded, they reported finding an individual, later identified as Shell, standing beside a vehicle with the doors open.

“The male subject told officers that the vehicle belonged to his cousin and that he was searching for his girlfriend’s necklace and ring,” police stated, adding Shell denied he had gotten into any vehicles as alleged by the complaint.

When officers checked the vehicle’s license plate, they learned that it had been reported stolen. In addition, they discovered that Shell had been giving them a false name.

Following a short scuffle, in which officers attempted to deploy a Taser in an effort to subdue Shell, Shell was taken into custody.

Shell was charged with receiving stolen property under $10,000, second-degree fleeing or evading police, resisting arrest, third-degree possession of a controlled substance, first-degree criminal mischief and public intoxication.

In addition, Shell was served with three outstanding warrants out of Jefferson and Leslie counties, charging him with first-degree robbery, fourth-degree assault and receiving stolen property under $500.

Department of corrections officials said Shell would have been eligible for parole in March 2018.

However, Shell was indicted in Knox County in July on charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and first-degree persistent felony offender stemming from an alleged incident in 2013.

According to the indictment, on Sept. 18, 2013, Shell allegedly forced his way into a Barbourville residence and took unspecified items while threatening the residents with a gun.

Shell is scheduled to return to Knox Circuit Court on Aug. 28 for a status hearing in the case.

Anyone with information concerning Shell’s whereabouts is asked to contact Kentucky State Police, (502) 227-2221, Lexington Division Police, (859) 258-3600, or Laurel County Sheriff’s department, 864-6600.