Phelps County authorities say escaped inmate has been arrested near Kansas City

Phlpes County inmate arrested in Ray County, Missouri
Phlpes County inmate arrested in Ray County, Missouri(KY3)
Published: Sep. 30, 2023 at 10:09 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 1, 2023 at 5:57 PM CDT
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PHELPS COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - The Phelps County Sheriff’s Department says escaped inmate Jonathan Eugene Schmidt O’Dell was arrested after a pursuit with law enforcement in Ray County, Missouri, near Kansas City.

Police say a witness who knows O’Dell reported him in possession of a stolen vehicle out of Phelps County. That vehicle was also recovered at the time of the arrest. The arresting agencies were the FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Ray County Sheriff’s Office.

Earlier Sunday afternoon, Rolla Police said there was a sighting of O’Dell on State Route O south of Rolla. Authorities say he was wearing a brown jacket over the maroon shirt and still has on the brown and tan pants, and that he looked very dirty.

According to the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, around 11 p.m. Friday, the two inmates escaped by breaking the structural integrity of the cell and left the building.

A short time later, one of the inmates, Steven Timothy Scott, turned himself in.

The other inmate, 33-year-old O’Dell, is still on the run. He is described as 6 foot one inch tall, 200 lbs., with brown hair, blue eyes, and a full beard at the time of his booking. He may have shaved his beard to disguise his identity.

Authorities say he was last seen wearing a maroon-colored shirt with a Phelps County logo and brown slacks with a tan stripe. He is considered extremely dangerous and was being held in the jail for several weapons charges.

The FBI in Kansas City also sent out a release on O’Dell. According to the FBI, a federal indictment says O’Dell allegedly planned to travel to Texas to shoot at illegal immigrants crossing the United States – Mexico border. The indictment also alleges he planned to murder officers and employees of the U.S. Border Patrol who would attempt to stop them.

In October 2022, the FBI went to search his home but special agents were fired at several times. The agents did not fire back and after the gunshots ended, the FBI put up a perimeter and began communicating with the persons inside the residence to come out.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is encouraged to call 911, FBI St. Louis at 314-589-2500 or FBI Kansas City at 816-512-8200. Tips may also be submitted at

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