MARSTON — Tired from a day of landscaping and sated by a belly full of burgers, Austin McBryde slept through the recapture of a bleeding escaped convict holed up in his truck.
In fact, he didn’t know anyone had been in the truck — much less left it dotted with pools of blood from more than 60 razor-wire wounds — until Pete Buchholtz, administrator of Morrison Correctional Institution, called him Friday morning.
On Monday — after two prospective buyers voiced second thoughts about buying the pickup he had parked alongside U.S. 1 — McBryde decided he’d call Buchholtz back to see whether the N.C. Department of Corrections might be willing to pay to get the blood out of the truck.
“It’s not just a little bit (of blood),” McBryde said Monday, describing his previous conversation with Buchholtz. “It’s a lot.”
“If you open the door, there’s a little pool of blood” where, McBryde theorizes, escapee Nickolas Statkus looked for a key to start the truck. (The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office has said it would charge Statkus, a convicted burglar, of breaking into the truck but said Monday that it did not need the truck for evidence.)
“I didn’t see him or nothing,” McBryde said Monday. He also didn’t see the bloodhounds, DOC officers or sheriff’s officers gathered on his front lawn.
“But I got a phone call early” Friday, he said.
Aside from losing money from the sale of the truck he had bought to go hunting in, McBryde has enjoyed telling people the story of how Statkus, 23 and from Cumberland County, holed up inside the cab of the truck, leaving a trail of his blood leading north toward Hoffman.
“People have heard about it, and they’ve asked, ‘What are the chances of that happening?’” he said. (Just imagine how good the story would have been if the truck had been a Ford Escape and not a Chevy pickup.)
McBryde has peered through the window of the truck to see the blood inside, and he has seen the dribbles of blood down the driver’s door. But that’s as curious as he has been.
“I’m not even going to touch it” until it has been cleaned, he said Monday.
Buchholtz said Monday morning that he would be glad to connect McBryde with someone who could take care of that task.
Escapee Statkus, meanwhile, is back at Morrison, stitched and stapled dozens of times after scaling two razor-wire fences and managing to lope 8.3 miles from the prison.
Law enforcement bloodhounds found him curled up asleep in the cab of McBryde’s white Chevrolet pickup, for sale on the west side of U.S. 1, slightly north of Rockingham Speedway.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]