Skylar Meade is back behind bars. Last Wednesday, Idaho officials sounded the alarm after the inmate made a daring escape with his accomplice following a collision with the police. The manhunt kicked into high gear, driven by Meade’s history of violent behavior.

After just over a day on the run, the 31-year-old Idaho prisoner has been apprehended and returned to prison. However, not before instilling terror in an entire community and allegedly claiming two victims. Though he’s now safely back behind bars, his criminal escapades during this brief escape only add to the charges that initially earned him a 20-year sentence. But what were his original charges?

The opening sprint

It all started last Tuesday evening when Skylar Meade was brought to Boise’s Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center for treatment of a self-inflicted injury. According to the Boise Police Department, officers were getting ready to transport him back to prison in the early hours of Wednesday when, at 2:15 am, an accomplice opened fire outside the emergency room.

“This brazen, violent, and apparently coordinated attack on Idaho Department of Corrections personnel, to facilitate an escape of a dangerous inmate, was carried out right in front of the emergency department, where people come for medical help, often in the direst circumstances,” Boise Police Chief Ron Winegar shared with media. 

The collision left three officers injured, all in stable conditions, but one with serious injuries. The pair were spotted speeding away in a grey Honda Accord, leaving behind the chaos they caused. And so began a frantic manhunt, with authorities broadcasting alerts through the media and urging the public to remain vigilant, encouraging anyone with information to dial 911.

“They are armed, dangerous, and have shown they are willing to use extreme violence in furtherance of their criminal activity,” Winegar added.

Victims en route

Skylar Meade and his accomplice didn’t just aim for a bold escape; they took it a step further. In just one day on the run, they couldn’t evade notice. Their names are now tied to the murders of two men in Northern Idaho during that very time frame.

James L. Mauney, 83, and Gerald Henderson, 72, both lost their lives near their homes. Mauney was out walking his two dogs when he was carjacked by the two suspects. CBS News reports that he was then driven eastbound in his silver Chrysler Pacifica. His body, along with his dogs, was found in a deserted area near Leland, close to the Washington border. The investigation into the cause of his death is ongoing.

That location is right near the home of the second victim, Henderson, where his body was found outside. Inside, investigators discovered Mauney’s dogs and a pair of shackles believed to belong to Meade. Police suggest this could imply that Henderson may have known the suspects, but they’re still piecing together the extent of their connection.

“The motive and why they did what they did, I don’t know,” Boirse Police Chief Winegar said.

What the police do know is that Meade is now facing new criminal charges, and the suspected murder of two men could greatly escalate his situation.

A record in justice’s halls

Maede‘s run-ins with the law started back in October 2016 when he fired multiple shots at a Twin Falls sheriff’s sergeant while evading a traffic stop. The high-speed chase culminated in Meade’s car crash, and his attempt to escape on foot. He was later arrested and charged with aggravated battery and the use of a deadly weapon against law enforcement. According to the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) records, he received a 20-year sentence with the chance of parole starting from October 14, 2026.

Even before this incident, Meade’s rap sheet wasn’t clean. His record revealed convictions for felony possession of a controlled substance, grand theft, and the introduction of contraband into a correctional facility. Allegedly, his criminal behavior persisted behind bars, leading to his placement in solitary confinement due to security concerns.

Meade and his accomplice had a history that extended back to their time in prison. The identified man, Nicholas Umphenour, is now wanted for two counts of aggravated battery against law enforcement and aiding an escape. Yet, this is not his first brush with the law. Reportedly, he and Meade were acquainted through mutual contacts in custody and had spent time together in the maximum-security facility. Providing further insight into their backgrounds, both men were affiliated with the white supremacist group Aryan Knights.

The Aryan Knights, as their name suggests, are a faction of white inmates within the IDOC system that emerged in the mid-1990s. With extreme white separatist beliefs, their aim was to coordinate criminal activities within the prison while resorting to violence and intimidation against non-white inmates. The group boasts more than 100 members, both inside and outside of IDOC.

Their identifying marks include tattoos featuring the numbers “12” and the letters “A” and “K.” Interestingly, Meade’s tattoos — “1” and “11” — could be interpreted as a subtle reference to these letters, as “A” and “K” are the first and eleventh letters of the alphabet, respectively.

Game over

The end of their race came quickly. On Thursday afternoon, barely a day after their dash, the pair was arrested just outside Twin Falls, a mere 45 miles from the Nevada border. Also in tow was a 52-year-old woman named Tonia Huber, likely involved in their flight. All three were apprehended after a brief chase.

“I am extremely proud of the entire Twin Falls Police Department and our partners. Although one of our vehicles was damaged during the P.I.T. maneuver, there were no injuries to members of our community, our team, other law enforcement, or the suspects themselves,” Twin Falls Police Chief Craig Kingsbury commented in a written statement. 

They all faced the judge on Friday. Huber is now up against charges of harboring a fugitive, locked up in Twin Falls County Jail, possibly looking at up to five years behind bars. She’s also charged with possession of a controlled substance and evading the police. But as for Umphenour and Meade, their future hangs in the balance. With investigations into the deaths of Mauney and Henderson underway, their horizon looks increasingly grim.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *