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Featured on TV Show, Escaped Prisoner and Guard Are Caught

October 19, 1990 GMT

CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) _ A female jail guard and an escaped male inmate were arrested at a motel in Canada a day after their disappearance was featured on a television show, authorities said.

Edgar Eugene Kerns, who escaped from the Allegany County Jail on Aug. 29, and guard Sandra Kay Beeman were arrested Thursday after a viewer of NBC’s ″Unsolved Mysteries″ contacted authorities, the Allegany County Sheriff’s Department said.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police also arrested another high-profile prison escapee this week as a result of a television show.


Lawrencia ″Bambi″ Bembenek was captured Wednesday in the tourist city of Thunder Bay, Ontario, after a tip came from someone who had seen her case described on ″America’s Most Wanted.″ The one-time police officer and former model fled to Canada with her fiance after escaping from a Wisconsin prison three months ago.

In the Maryland case, the sheriff’s department alleges that Beeman let Kerns and another inmate escape. The other inmate, James Vernon Barnes, 35, of Romney, W.Va., was captured in Hampshire County, W.Va., four days after the jail break.

Kerns, 29, and Beeman, 46, of Frostburg, spent several weeks at a motel in Hamilton, Ontario. They moved several miles away to another motel Wednesday night and were arrested there early the next day, the sheriff’s office said.

They were held by authorities in Hamilton, about 30 miles south of Toronto.

Kerns faced charges of grand larceny, assault and passing a bad check. Barnes was serving 50 years on kidnap and rape charges in Virginia when he was transferred to Allegany County to be tried for kidnapping, rape and possession of a deadly weapon.

For three days after the escape, authorities believed Beeman was a hostage. One of the escapees allegedly had his arm around Beeman’s neck when the three left the jail.

Beeman, a guard at the jail for 10 years, was dubbed a fugitive after she called her 21-year-old daughter in Frostburg and told her, ″I’m fine. I’m with him,″ authorities said.

Beeman has been charged with aiding an escape, a felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail.

Ms. Bembenek and Dominick Gugliatto were arrested after authorities were contacted by an ″America’s Most Wanted″ viewer who recognized Ms. Bembenek in a Thunder Bay restaurant.

Ms. Bembenek was serving a life sentence for the 1981 killing of Christine Schultz, the previous wife of Ms. Bembenek’s then-husband. Authorities allege Ms. Bembenek, 32, killed Mrs. Schultz out of resentment for the $700-a-month alimony payments she was receiving.